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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Hoping to survive the "The Long Decline" of Criticism and the death of "book review sections" in Canadian newspapers and journals, this blog includes the following poetry books in its list of poetry books to review.

We will not allow Andre Alexis' (The Walrus, July-August, 2010, pg. 72) prognostication to stand unchallenged.

He said in his Walrus essay: "There is another aspect of this decline.

"These days, Canadian literary reviewers are so woefully incompetent, it makes you wonder if there's something in our culture that poisons critics in their cradles...

"The problem is, rather, in the approach. Our reviews have become at their worst, about the revelation of the reviewer's opinion, not about a consideration of the book or an account of the small world that briefly held writer and reviewer in the orbit of a book. Reviews have turned into a species of autobiography, with the book under review being a pretext for personal revelation. . . .

"The discussion is rarely helpful in building a shareable aesthetic. ..."

Here's a list we will work on to restore book reviewing as a literary art.

1. traje de boda, Poems by Aileen Ibardaloza, the Filipino-American poet's debut book of poems. Meritage Press founder Eileen Tabios announced the release of the book in 2010. Ibardaloza lives in the San Francisco (USA) bay area, and Meritage Press, a multidisciplinary literary and arts press, is based in St. Helena, California.

2. The 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology edited by Michael Redhill (includes the finalists of the prestigious poetry prize: Kevin Connoly, Jeramy Dodds, Mick Imlah, Derek Mahn, A.F. Moritz, C.D. Wright, and Dean Young).

3. Priscilla Uppal, poet and fiction writer, edited and introduced 20 Canadian Poets Take On the World (a collection of poetry by 20 international poets translated by 20 of Canada's "most accomplished poets, Exile Editions). Dr. Uppal is an English Professor at the York University in Toronto.

4. Kate Hall's The Certainty Dream, a poetry collection shortlisted in this year's Griffin Poetry Prize. She now lives in Montreal where she teaches.

5. Karen Solie's Pigeon, winner of the 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize, Canada's richest poetry award at $75,000 . Solie is from Saskatchewan and now lives in Toronto.

The blog's reviews will follow.

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