reviews and interviews

About The Birthday Books


"Lilley is most effective with achieving a specific mood within her stories, the characters’ observations and emotional weight colouring the diverse landscapes she portrays, from Edinburgh to Whitehorse, remote Inuit communities to English gardens."

Allison LaSorda, The Malahat Review

"Each story in this collection is sparely and carefully crafted, beautifully nuanced, yet the intelligence at work is of a higher order, one doubtlessly gained from extensive travel, insight into social circumstance and human nature, and empathy for the human condition. It is a collection resisting summary, the work of a poet equally at home in the short story form, a journey readers will be grateful to have taken."

Justin Dittrick, SPG Book Reviews 

"Lilley's short story collection is a book like no other. It touches readers and makes them fall in love with the north..."

Elke Reinauer, What's Up Yukon
 
Listen a to a radio interview with CBC North host Dave White about The Birthday Books.

Whitehorse writer explores the north's magnetic pull
Yukon News 


About The Fleece Era


Visit Brick Books online to read some reviews of The Fleece Era and to hear or read some interviews (you'll need to scroll down and click on the tabs). Meanwhile, here are some review snippets.

“I’m reminded of Emily Dickinson’s semi-mystical, epigrammatic lyrics, but also Elizabeth Bishop’s pointillist portraiture—the exquisite image and restrained emotion."

George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald

“In a quiet space called imagination, a magical trail of ink flows from Joanna Lilley’s words and seeps inside my head. It swirls and stirs like eddies in a remote stream and my admiration deepens for the lyrical work of this award-winning Yukon-based and UK-born poet.”

Debbie Okun Hill, Kites Without Strings

“Lilley has a knack for distilling the intricacies of familial relationships to a single galvanizing image: 'Once the will was read / and the sweater wasn't in it / I knew it was my inheritance.'”

Zachary Abram, Journal of Canadian Poetry – The Poetry Review

“In a voice that is at times happily off-kilter and nearly musical, the poems in Joanna Lilley’s The Fleece Era seek to solve the riddles of her present life in the Yukon and her past familial relationships...”
Al Rempel, Arc Poetry Magazine

“The poems are both sardonic and comforting, resistant and motherly. Lilley writes about both individualism and dependency in an attempt to locate identity in society, in family, and in self that is both liberating and loving.”

Contemporary Verse 2

“Her real gift is for last lines—in the James Wright tradition, she often moves from the lyrical into the meditative—a line or two at the end that lock each poem: 'If she throws all of her rocks into the ocean,/there might be enough for a bridge' (“The Collection”).”

Emily Wall, Canadian Literature, A Quarterly of Criticism and Review

“Each event in The Fleece Era is hauntingly recognizable. To put it in her own words, the poems are are 'felt and seen rather than just merely thought.'”

Contemporary Verse 2, Snapshots

“There are so many poems in The Fleece Era that could count toward my list of favourites that the challenge to relay them all in a single review would be overly daunting and not really feasible...”

Andreas Gripp

“At times chilling in its honesty, The Fleece Era nevertheless embraces the complexities of human life with warmth and passion.”

 Adebe deRango-Adem, Quill and Quire

“The Fleece Era contains some beautiful poetry, but has a narrative ease to it that will appeal to readers who don’t usually read poetry. The writing is taut yet deep, brimming with energy and openness.”

Literary Press Group of Canada

“Joanna Lilley’s The Fleece Era is the discovery of Brick Books’ spring season, a first poetry collection with a subtle, shifting vision of ecological and human connection.”

Julian Gunn, The Coastal Spectator

“In her poem 'Neo-Colonialist', Joanna Lilley brushes aside her sensitivities and concerns and adopts a comical tone that is (self-)critical of tropes associated with historical and economical privilege, bringing about a marvelous effect, and this crafty poetic approach amid our obsession with everything North is to be found throughout her collection.”

Garry Thomas Morse, Jacket2