Reviews and Commentary of/on New Brunswick (Biblioasis, 2019)

Barbara Colebrook Peace in The Malahat Review 209. “In his beautiful and haunting new collection of poems, New Brunswick, Shane Neilson explores the nature of his home province with the same deeply searching spirit he has hitherto brought to the subjects of pain and identity. He has made the book so personally moving and engaging that he draws the reader into this exploration with him.”

Micheline Maylor in Quill and Quire July/August 2019: “Neilson’s sharp observations entice. New Brunswick rings in tone and tribute as a moody historic elegy.”

Aaron Schneider in The Temz Review 8: “New Brunswick leaves you with the impression that there are more poems to be written, and they are poems that, like the ones in the book itself, you would very much like to read.” 

R.M. Vaughan in NBMediaCo-op June 12, 2019: “Oromocto-born writer Shane Neilson’s latest book of poems, plainly and aptly titled New Brunswick, is a major new work in the provincial, and way beyond, canon. Centering New Brunswick within larger national dialogues, New Brunswick (Biblioasis, 2019) takes a hard and moving look at how the province (indeed, all of Canada) can and must reconcile its past with its present, begin to heal its deeply wounded environment, and turn “regionalism”, formerly a dirty word in poetics, into something urgent and far more resonant.

James Fisher in The Miramichi Reader, Sept. 14 2019: “First impressions upon reading New Brunswick: (1) I felt like I went a few rounds with Yvon Durelle, the Fighting Fisherman, so hard-hitting is the emotional impact of this collection. (2) I was amazed at how much of New Brunswick’s history, current affairs and sense of place Mr. Neilson incorporates into his poems.”

Al Moritz in The Fiddlehead 283: “Shane Neilson’s poetry in New Brunswick so often expresses itself completely in a single beautiful poem, passage, or aphoristic-symbolic phrase—a world in a grain of sand—that one can put aside at first (and some readers, I suppose, could do without forever) its exploratory and marvellously expressive use of the serial, or sequential form. I’m so taken by the power of the local in this book that I’m virtually content to access solely through its mediation the universal that is equally a direct element of the poetry, and that ought to be engaged directly to get a full view of the book’s project and accomplishment.”

Neil Surkan in Canadian Literature: “n his latest excellent collection, New Brunswick, Shane Neilson also focuses on the particulars of place. His poems, however, expand and contract to take in political, economic, and cultural concerns while somehow doubling as moving, intimate elegies and meditations on family. Somehow comes to mind repeatedly when reading this collection: the book’s six sections are as ambitious as they are impressive in the ways they renovate and reimagine the long poem form. From its opening timeline-poem, to sequenced stand-alone lyrics, to hybridized crowns of sonnets, New Brunswick consistently surprises. Philip Larkin, Patrick Lane, Robert Lowell, and Alden Nowlan lurk in Neilson’s melodic rhymes and persistent rhythms, but his courageously genuine intimations make his voice unmistakable . . . Subtle and multifaceted, these are poems that juggle more feelings and more forms than most—and more life.