Reviews

Praise for Quarrels

“In Quarrels, Eve Joseph’s delightful collection of prose poems, you enter the marvelous and that is the truth! The poet has surrendered herself to the realm of the illogical, trusting that it has a logic of its own, and the outcome is, indeed, a new music. These poems are intriguing spaces and moments defeating the boundaries of the real, but rest assured, Joseph leads you by the hand with warmth, wit and empathy.

Perhaps these poems are crystallisations of a deeply human, spiritual knowledge, gathered over decades working in a hospice. Joseph’s previous book, the exceptional memoir, In the Slender Margin, renders this experience. Certainly, without gravity, poems wouldn’t be able to sing. As distillations of life, these poems, with beauty and charm, hold their own credibility: an omnipresent, merely-in-glimpses-tangible marvelousness, miraculously fastened to the pages of a single slender volume that will fit into most pockets and assure magnificent company on any given journey.” —Judges’ Citation, Griffin Poetry Prize

“The marvellous here is in the small moments that make up Joseph’s experience of meeting — and quarrelling with — the infinite complexity of the surroundings of those moments. Like lotus blossoms, these poems open from a central image into something seemingly limitless. As poet Jack Spicer once confessed, ‘I am thinking that a poem could go on forever.'” —Paul Falardeau, BC Booklook (read the entire review)

“Joseph deftly moves between perspectives and voices, each one distinct and engaging, while consistently offering images that stay with the reader long after, ‘lit like lanterns floating into the night sky.'” —Andrea MacPherson, Canadian Literature (read the entire review)

“A purse-sized, well designed book, Quarrels, the third poetry collection by Eve Joseph, dives into prose poems. Most are about ten lines long, reminding me of Jack Gilbert’s The Great Fires. But if Gilbert’s dense, dark poems are like gravestones, Joseph’s are sailboats, a nimble regatta pulled along by capricious winds. The epithet from Yeats speaks of poetry as a ‘quarrel with ourselves’ and there is indeed a sense here of the interior voice, of the poet arguing with herself.” —Miranda Pearson, Event Poetry and Prose (read the entire review)

“In her new book Quarrels (Anvil Press), Victoria writer Eve Joseph presents us with a series of short prose poems like windows into the weird and wonderful that is all around us but which we often don’t turn our heads to see. She invites us to bravely enter into our own little quarrels—the back and forths of “it’s this; it’s not”—with the perception of literal truth.” —Focus on Victoria (read the entire review)

Praise for In the Slender Margin

“To Joseph, it makes as much sense for the dead to appear as spirits glowing in midair as for them to be inert and terminated.” —The New York Times (read the entire review)

“Poet and essayist Joseph (The Startled Heart) serves up luminous, poetic prose in this thoughtful look at dying, grief, burial, and how animals react to loss, among many related topics.” —The Publishers Weekly (read the entire review)

“A literate, free-association meditation on the final fact of life.” —Kirkus Review (read the entire review)

The Globe Books 100: Best Canadian non-fiction 2014
“In the Slender Margin is intended as an exploration rather than a balm or solace, though it will no doubt be those things for some people. Its resonance comes, rather, from its intelligent open-endedness, its unflinching, simultaneous embrace of death’s reality and persistent mystery.” —Globe and Mail (read the entire review)

“The wonder of personal essays is their meandering nature. The author has questions, may find some answers, but mostly she writes to find out what she is thinking. That’s the case with Joseph’s exceptional book. . . .” —The Vancouver Sun (read the entire review)

“Blending elements of memoir, reporting, and bookish contemplation, In the Slender Margin is an intricate and beautiful essay on approaching that good night we all go into, gently or otherwise.” —National Post (read the entire review)

Interviews with Eve Joseph about In the Slender Margin

CBC’s Sheryl Mackay interviews Eve Joseph for North by Northwest. (listen here)

“[T]his is an extended and compelling meditation on death: she’s filigreed the memoir with dozens of short anecdotes, quotations, bits of life experience and trivia that record a life of quietly observing death.” Maurice Mierau interviews Eve Joseph for The Winnipeg Review (read the entire interview).

“Eve Joseph’s new book, In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Death and Dying, is essential reading for everyone.” Lynne Van Luven interviews Eve Joseph for the Coastal Spectator (read the entire interview).

Bill Stenson interviews Eve Joseph for Canadian Memoirs (listen here). You can also find it on iTunes.

Praise for previous works

“Joseph extends the usual limits of the lyric, allowing the reader to imaginatively enter into the point of view of the subjects of her poems—crow, carp, swallow—whose voices she assumes.” —Globe and Mail

“[Joseph] illuminates one of the great mysteries of the human condition with a supple and often incandescent array of imagery, insight, allusion, even humour—and a daring lack of sentimentality. It’s a work of poetic prose that can rest comfortably alongside the classic writers of the genre, from Michel de Montaigne to Annie Dillard.” —The Judges at The Malahat Review

“I was haunted by the gentling towards innerness and by the way the poem slowly opens up to the world at large. ‘White Camellias’ is a geography of the moment before the moment passes.” —Barry Dempster

The Startled Heart is a memorable collection that tugs on death’s sleeve, sometimes with the innocence of a child, sometimes with the ache of the unforgiving.” —Georgia Straight

“A spirited attempt to discern the unknowable, a brave sally into a dark thicket of our shared experience, and a careful sifting of the author’s travels through the land of the dying” —The Judges at The Malahat Review

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