Reviews and interviews

See what people are saying about Joanna's books, listen to interviews with her or read articles she's written about her work.


Endlings


Reviews

'When we finally emerge from our current crisis we will need to question everything about how we have lived and find new routes to our own happiness and security. “Endlings” should be essential reading in that desperate rethinking of ourselves.'
– Josh Brown, Portsmouth Poetry


'...this collection isn’t any preachy diatribe with thundering lessons to behold. The poems are, as Lilley’s work always is, beautifully crafted with an amazingly attentive eye to detail,'

– Heidi Greco, The Ormsby Review


'I highly recommend reading this fascinating collection of well-crafted poems that speak to the human capacity for wonderment. If the title sounds unusual it’s because the term endling has only recently been coined to refer to the last individual of a species or sub-species.'

– review by Judy Halebsky and Dave Seter, Poetry Engineering Blog

'Endlings succeeds because it offers a chronicle of not only grief, but environmental and civic responsibility. It is a book which asks us to look outward in order to look more closely at ourselves.'
– Rebecca Valley, Drizzle

'An endling, as mentioned, is the last individual to die in any species which becomes extinct upon the death of that individual; so Lilley is poeming about extinction, about total extinction—“letting all the animals go”—a grand event that doesn’t hurt, the Sixth Mass Extinction about and in which so many people rarely feel anything even though we are causing it and living it, which is precisely why Lilley wants the very idea of it to hurt, causes the poem of it to hurt;'
– Mandy-Suzanne Wong, Kiskadee, Manque Magazine

Interviews


How the Great Auk inspired Joanna Lilley to write poetic odes

Launchpad: Endlings by Joanna Lilley

Finding poetry in odd places
Interview by Dave White, Airplay, CBC North

Active Voice podcast
Interview by Katie Bausler, 49 Writers, Alaska

Quatrain Questions
Interview by Turnstone Press

Worry Stones


Reviews


'It’s a beautiful novel that captures the importance of the lands in which we ground ourselves, and how damaging our uprooting from those places of identification can be. Lilley illuminates all over again the complexity and friction of family relationships, and ultimately reveals that trying to outrun one’s own dissatisfaction with life is never truly possible.'
– Jenna Butler, The Ormsby Review

'With tenderness and poetic vision, Lilley beautifully portrays the complex connections we have to family. An enthralling story written with boundless love for the natural world.'
– Maia Caron, author of Song of Batoche

'Worry Stones is a gorgeously written novel. I stayed up late reading it and then treated myself to a chapter each morning.'
– Julie Salverson, author of Lines of Flight

'Art and artistry wend their way through the novel as a leitmotif: what drives us to create art, why we consume it, and how art informs us of who we are. Fans of Lilley’s award-nominated poetry, and readers who appreciate elegantly crafted imagery, will enjoy Worry Stones—a novel formed, sculpted, and chiselled over a span of 17 years.

'X plus Y: Navigating familial collapse in Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness meets the stunning sense of place and blending of past and present in Jane Urquhart’s A Map of Glass.'
– alllitup.ca

'Lilley shows us an affectionate geography of people and places that is solid enough to support us, but not so immutable as to keep us trapped.'
– Mary Thaler, The Northern Review 

'Anyone with siblings can relate to these fractures that occur when someone bears the brunt of family duties.'
– Cherie Thiessen, BC BookWorld


'One of the novel’s successes is the character of Jenny. In managing her difficult family, in her anxiety to understand everyone’s viewpoint, sometimes to her own detriment, in her eventual courage in confronting her father—Jenny is fully realized, complex, and utterly believable.'
– Steve Noyes, The Malahat Review

Interviews


Publication news
The Caledonia Novel Award folk ask Joanna about her journey to publication for Worry Stones.

Joanna Lilley on how long it can take to write a novel
Guest blog on Gail Anderson-Dargatz's site

First Fiction Friday: Worry Stones

A story 17 years in the making
Interview by Amy Kenny, Yukon News

Whitehorse author releases first novel
Interview by Dave White, CBC North, Airplay

An author's dream
Interview by Elke Reinauer, What's Up Yukon

Local author to launch debut novel


If There Were Roads


Reviews

'Lilley dares to venture into the open and endless plain of the emotional landscape. This is where Joanna Lilley really shines... There is a haunting, to come after, feeling to these poems. A knowing, that once read, you'll want to travel this road again.'
– Michael Dennis, Today's Book of Poetry

'Lilley's 2017 If There Were Roads has less humour, takes itself more seriously, but in a good way. The lines tend to be just a little longer, the stanzas slightly more shapely, the imagery a shade subtler, some of the verbs more deeply sounded, and the overall construction tighter. Many of the poems have regular stanza patterns that achieve an effortless formality, that elusive quality of being found, or of growing in place, rather than being imposed.'
– Eric Heyne, The Northern Review

'I really love Joanna’s poetry. She has a way of taking ordinary moments and making them into something special, so that I begin to look at my own ordinary moments differently.'
– Tara Borin, Truths from the Trenches

illey’s 2017
If There Were Roads
has less humour, takes itself more seriously, but in a good way. The
lines tend to be just a li
tt
le longer, the stanzas slightly more shapely,
the imagery a shade subtler, some of the verbs more deeply sounded,
and the overall construction tighter. Many of the poems have regular
stanza pa
tt
erns that achieve an e
ff
ortless formality, that elusive quality
of being found, or of growing in place, rather than being imposed.
illey’s 2017
If There Were Roads
has less humour, takes itself more seriously, but in a good way. The
lines tend to be just a li
tt
le longer, the stanzas slightly more shapely,
the imagery a shade subtler, some of the verbsre deeply sounded,
and the overall construction tighter. Many of the poems have regular
stanza pa
tt
erns that achieve an e
ff
ortless formality, that elusive quality
of being found, or of growing in place, rather than being imposed.
illey’s 2017
If There Were Roads
has less humour, takes itself more seriously, but in a good way. The
lines tend to be just a li
tt
le longer, the stanzas slightly more shapely,
the imagery a shad
e subtler, some of the verbs more deeply sound
e

d,
and the overall construction tighter.

Interviews


Talking with Yukon author and poet Joanna Lilley
Interview by Alex McCumbers, News of the North, Alaska

Yukon author, poet touring Alaska

Interview by Scott Burton, KTOO

Quattrain Questions – living and writing in the north

Interview by Turnstone Press

From Whitehorse to Muenster, poet shares love of writing at St Peter's

Interview by Becky Zimmer, Humboldt Journal

Longing for places: Joanna Lilley's new poetry collection explores the nostalgia of landscapes

Interview by Lori Garrison, Yukon News

All her roads lead to poetry

Interview by Elke Reinauer, What's Up Yukon    

The Devonian period
By Joanna Lilley, 49 Writers, Anchorage Press


Writing for Animals


Interview by Ashland Creek Press

The Birthday Books


Reviews


"Lilley had a real knack for description and with a gamut of settings and scenarios from Yukon to Scotland, I felt like a real armchair traveler."
– John Mutford, The Book Mine Set

"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


Interviews

The Birthday Books
Interview by Dave White, CBC North

Whitehorse writer explores the north's magnetic pull
Interview by Pierre Chauvin, Yukon News 


The Fleece Era


Reviews


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

Interviews


Yukon poet explores legacy and connection

12 or 20 questions with Joanna Lilley

An interview with Joanna Lilley
Interview by Lily Gontard, Open Book: Ontario