canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

Exhibit: A spoken word CD
by Kris Northey (

Reviewed by T. Anders Carson

I would have funded this collection. Many times I almost get scared when I see the symbol for "funded by Canada Council" or Ontario Arts Council or whatever Council, but this CD was good. As with any recording, there will be some pieces that you like, and others that become favorites. The ones where you hit the replay button after hearing it. Then there are others that take a while to sink in, and then also become favorites.

Itís Kris Northeyís style that I like. At first I thought she sounded a bit like Ani diFranco, without the guitar, but upon further listening I said no, she is her own person (possibly influenced but I cannot sayÖ). The live recordings done at Rasputinís are the most appealing. She has the crowd and she commands the listener to be with her in the various contortionist moves she weaves through her work. "Contain yourself" is good. The title hints at something about to go out of control, but keeps a gentle but firm hand on the reigns.

In "Remembrance Day" she describes an elderly war hero peddling poppies while she lines up a bottle of wine for sale. The images in this poem are striking. Almost eerily so-- she is ahead of her time, for the CD was finished in 2000, long before our world turned on its head. She speaks with a youthful reverence for those heroes. I enjoyed the work. Her voice is clear, concise and breathes of a vibrancy that comes from touching at that well deep within.

She does some experimental work with repetitive words (such as "broccoli"). These are fun, but donít quite capture the ambience of the grand poetess. Her live work and those done from that place that hasnít entirely been oiled are what work best for me. The cover photo is good. It is always comforting to see that her mom supported her work. There is nothing more bilific then lack of support from family. I am looking forward to seeing her next work. Her website is should she be coming soon to your neighborhood. Definitely worth a seeÖ

T. Anders Carson is a poet who lives in Portland, ON with Vicki and their two kids.







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