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George Elliot Clarke Discusses Len Gasparini’s Mirror Image

Writing for the Maple Tree Literary Supplement, George Elliot Clarke compared Guernica author Len Gasparini’s Mirror Image with Niki Koulouris’ The Sea with No One in It. He begins by asserting that “both employ a Mediterranean heritage that reflects trans-oceanic influences, the Pacific for Koulouris and the Atlantic for Gasparini.” Drawing on a line from The Sea with No One in It, “’I’ve come to expect / Guernica on the / street,” “Koulouris…provides an inadvertent segue to Gasparini’s newest book, Mirror Image, published by Guernica.” Clarke observes that “Gasparini has also been a traveller, but very much anchored in the real, the workaday, pop culture plus literature.” Gasparini manages to weave together “a ‘jailbait blonde,’ a ‘whole lotta neckin’ goin’ on,’ losing virginity at a drive-in movie, and other rock’n’roll hoochi-koo in lines that are clear, fresh, and vigorous.” Gasparini’s verse provides “the Beat-bravura style of Kerouac, but also the resolute, classical clarity of Dante’s ‘La Vita Nuova.’” Although “it’s easy to overlook Gasparini’s excellence because he pens seemingly simple lyrics about diurnal reality…one finds simplicity that has been zealously won.” Gaspirini’s “tales are fine renderings, evocations, limning, again, that specific, Gasparini combo of grace and guts.”

George Elliot Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia. He has published numerous groundbreaking verse and dramatic poetry collections and anthologies, most recently Illicit Sonnets. He has won the Governor General Literary Award, the Portia White Prize, and is the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto.

Len Gasparini was born in Windsor, Ontario and is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, five short-story collections, including The Snows of Yesteryear, The Undertaker’s Wife, and A Demon in My View, which was translated into French as Nouvelle noirceur. He has also written two children’s books, a work of non-fiction, and a one-act play. In 1990, he was awarded the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize for poetry and in 2010 he won the NOW Open Poetry Stage event.

To read more about Len Gasparini, visit the Guernica website at:

To read more about Mirror Image, visit the Guernica website at:

To read the whole review, visit the Maple Tree Literary Supplement website at:

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