The Pigheaded Soul: Essays and Reviews on Poetry and Culture

by Jason Guriel (The Porcupine’s Quill)

Late last year Jason Guriel's review of Memorial, a loose translation of The Illiad by Alice Oswald, became the grounds of a lit crit wrestling match. Poet-critic Helen Guri took Guriel down, calling the review "dismissive," "snide," and anti-feminist. Poet-critic Steward Cole picked Guriel back up, calling Guri's review "violently distorting." And then on Twitter Sina Queyras (@lemonhound) threw some quipped, angry punches. You see? Canadian poetry is exciting. The reviews in this book definitely are, and they aren't just about little-known Canadian poetry; Guriel does a pretty scathing takedown of e.e. cummings and of some overpraised Canadian poets (Anne Carson, Denis Lee). Most importantly, his critiques are spot on, entertaining, and a good example of how much of an art form the well-written review can be.

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