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Issues 13 and 14 of Murderous Signs each follow the same curious formula: didactic essay, lacklustre poetry, splendid endpiece. The squeakiest wheel is Toronto writer Kyla Dixon-Muir, who opens #13 with a meandering diatribe. If arguments are not original, they should at least be pithy. Editor Grant F. Wilkins allows Dixon-Muir to harangue the reader for nine unfocused pages under the tiresome guise of national pride. Her assault on the status quo is not so much intersectional as scattered. By contrast, the highlight of these two issues, the finale of #13, is “7 poems about bowling,” a buoyant offering from rob mclennan. As in much of mclennan’s work, the lines are a sturdy combination of seeming effortlessness and strange inevitability: five pins pour memory out the blue too late for ten, they said, too late too late a drinking hour wondering a grand eye in the lane would go so smartly; would throw as softly as a little girlThe strong finish of issue 14 is an “experiment in generational degradation” in which a poem by Archibald Lampman is photocopied into oblivion, perhaps mimicking the gradual recession of Lampman’s popularity (resurrected Canadian men of letters haunt #14). If only each issue of Murderous Signs featured several of these elegant pieces. (Daniel Marrone)

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