Essays & Reviews


If you are interested in getting your manuscript published or working with a mentor, check out the mini-essay I wrote as a Q&A on the Humber College website called “A Q&A with Leslie Timmins, author of Every Shameless Ray.”
A Q&A with Leslie Timmins….

Reviews of Every Shameless Ray

Canadian Poetry Review by poet Candice James
Click here for original review

January 27 [2019] at 5:26 PM ·
AUTHOR: Leslie Timmins
PUBLISHER: Inanna Publications 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-77133-577-5
PGS: 105
PRICE: $18.95
REVIEWED BY: Candice James

Leslie Timmins rides a polished slalom ski across a shiny lake of sparkling words that bounce and dance to the rhythm she created and the visuals she paints on the waves she displaces as she shifts through shadows and slices through light, exposing the raw bone of every shameless ray. Timmins is a master of strong and vibrant opening lines that place the reader’s mind in a comfy lazy-boy recliner to envision the cinematic unfolding of her poem(s).

In the poem “Anatta” the opening three lines immediately set the stage with a depth of deep sparkle and evocative mind prodding: “When the pack horses carrying you to your gold rush / grow gaunt, buck off their burden, desert you, / even your enemy is lost”
The poem “The Stoning” bypasses all exteriors and speaks directly to the synapses with the picturesque opening lines: “If you enter here / a scarlet sky will ache behind you”

“The Prevailing Wind” is an amazing poem and it opens with a strong first stanza that fervently demands we read on: “An eagle liquid as a manta ray swims / the visible shallows of wind. / the tallest trees shake, branches bounce / and we breathe it in and our ribs unlace,/ our flesh, so easily, wing.”

So many lines coil around my heartstrings and wrap my spirit in warmth as evidenced in these line from the poem “How the Heart Grows Strong Again”: “I know when I’m lost / I should take any road the land offers / from the end of love to whatever comes after”
In the second stanza and the final line of the poem “In the Morning When They Fling the Shutters Wide”, the poem stands tall, taller, tallest: “Canvases lean like corpses against the wall / their bruised fruit stain rags below. / Their silver leaves. Pleasing. Mere vapours now.” And the last line of the poem shouts itself out loudly: “the sun calls out with every shameless ray”

This ekphrastic poem “Seated Woman, Back Turned”, written to the Matisse painting of the same name, is fully included here:
“The cement stoop in the front of the little house / my family lived in awhile / where I sat on summer evenings, 14 years old, / bony knees, chest, face warm,, still being / warmed after the heat of a summer day // all on my own, no one calling or screaming // rooftops and poplars slipped into silhouette, / the rim of the sun caught at the edges of things / as their insides filled with night / and a horizon / I hadn’t really seen before – / just, sort of, abiding – // Matisse made one sky thus: / left-swinging and horizontal, / deliquescent over the silk / and flex of a bay / and the play / of sailboats. // this one window so wide to the outside.”

Many of the poems, ekphrastically married to a myriad of Matisse paintings, open the windows and throw back the curtains to expose the multi-dimensional landscape of Timmins’ exquisite mindset. This book is well worth reading.

About the author: Born in Winnipeg and raised in Ontario, France, and Germany, Leslie Timmins discovered her love of visual art and architecture early in life, later finding a similar appeal in the raw beauty of wilderness. Activism, and a decades-long meditation practice, provide other engines that fire up her award-winning poetry. Her poems have appeared in fine magazines in Canada and the U.S., in the anthologies Global Poetry (2011), A Verse Map of Vancouver (2009), Sustenance (2017), and in her chapbook The Limits of Windows (2015). She reviews books for Event magazine and has written articles and essays for Canadian Living and The Globe and Mail, among other publications. She lives in Vancouver with her husband.

About the reviewer: Candice James served as 2 three year terms (2010-2016) as Poet Laureate of New Westminster, BC and was then appointed Poet Laureate Emerita She founded Royal City Literary Arts Society; Poetic Justice; Poetry in the Park; and Poetry New Westminster. She is author of thirteen poetry books published by five different publishing houses: the first A Split In The Water” (Fiddlehead Poetry Books 1979); and the most recent is The Water Poems (Ekstasis Editions). Some of her many awards include: Bernie Legge Artist Cultural award; Pandora’s Collective . Further Info at: Wikipedia and