Danika reviews Riot Lung by Leah Horlick


As I have mentioned before, I get a little overwhelmed trying to review poetry. It seems so individual, and what expertise do I have? Of course, that’s equally true of fiction, and I don’t seem to mind reviewing that, so I’ll give it a shot!

Riot Lung is very scenic, firmly rooted in Horlick’s prairie home. Many of the poems are love poems to this landscape, reminding me of Ivan Coyote’s works’ tendencies to call back to the Yukon.

I found this collection a little bit slow to start with, probably because it does start out with a lot of these scenic poems, and as a personal preference, I usually enjoy people-based poetry and narrative better. Luckily, there is a mix of styles and subject matter in Horlick’s work. Some of it is straightforward and easy-to-read, while others are more dense. I thought the collection got stronger near the middle: by halfway I had decided that Riot Lung had earned a spot in the permanent collection (the Lesbrary, if you will).

Most of the poems included are quite short, usually only a page. Because there is a range of subjects and styles, I think this collection can be read by lots of different poetry fans. The back cover states that she is a spoken word artist, and you can see that aspect in her poetry. Riot Lung will also be of interest to readers who call (or called) the prairies home, and, of course, there are some poems that focus on queer content. If you have a chance, I recommend picking up Riot Lung, at the very least to sample a poem or two.



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