In Reviews

"I wasn’t very far into Pearl Pirie’s new poetry collection the pet radish, shrunken when I wished that I wasn’t reading it. Oh, don’t get excited; this isn’t some horrible negative review. Alone in my backyard in suburbia with the book in hand, I wished for a brief moment to be in a darkened public venue somewhere in urban wherever, listening to Pirie read, or better yet, to have her teleport to my backyard and read the book to me, or leap it to me, spin it to me like sixteen plates on sticks, dance its punny pas de bourrée, mash its oulipo sassiness into a fine paste and wear it like a facial. Wishing makes it so, in this case: that all happened anyway despite the decided lack of technology to support teleportation, which tells you something about the linguistic clean and jerk that this book performs and about the power and appeal of Pirie’s whirling dervish wordplay. ” 


"After two books, Pearl Pirie already has something of a reputation for verbal pyrotechnics, & her eccentrically titled new collection will definitely further burnish it. [...] Although many of these pieces seem to fly beyond the ordinary, the local & political world hovers nearby, & sometimes impinges in a cutting manner. There’s a pertinent impertinence to such poems as ‘but here are you from, really?’ with lines like ‘absence makes the heart grown nomads. we are cheerleaders / standing on the pyramid of temporary workers,’  ” 


"The lyrics populating Ottawa poet Pearl Pirie's new collection, the pet radish, shrunken, buzz with oblique wisdom and surgically sharp wit.[...] the sonnets, tercets and dialogue poems of this new collection strike powerful and deliberate chords even while they frolic and surprise. ” 


"the pet radish, shrunken explores and dissects sound, form, and linguistic play, frustrating what Pirie calls embedded sense – the deeper meanings we ascribe to words, and by extension, the world. In “the body, its calendar” she writes, “wouldn’t we all fly up if not clasped? / you & I talk of saturn. I say weight. / you reply, mass, mass, but all I hear / is the trinity. dust, our size, not our origin.” Worlds collide in this single stanza: creationism is pitted against not only evolution, but existentialism.[...] Many of these poems aren’t pretty in a lyrical sense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because they please the mind in another way. "

"She'll slip a hard edge into the most carefree poems to knock you out while other lines evoke giggles[...] a radiant union of contemporary situations and classic themes."

"Pirie's poetry reminds me of early Atwood. Witty and biting at the same time. I haven't read poetry that I have enjoyed like that for a long time."

"She’s the opposite of boring!” 

"Precise riots of vowels and consonants rattle these poems. Pearl Pirie's lines burn with sonic-rich images. Her verbal verve is rooted in an ecstatic attentiveness to language, both found and formal. Moving from sonnets to dialogue poems to tercets, these poems shelter surreal and uncanny imagery. Charged with innovative and lyrical energies, the pet radish, shrunken is a gorgeous rebellion."


"[S]he manages to articulate a series of confusions and sparks, none of which could have been articulated in any other way. These are poems learning how to explore simply by exploring. She has become a poet worth watching, which is always a rare and enviable position."



"In Pearl Pirie's poems, language ferments, foments a "vinegar vigour." Flipping the labels off contemporary mores, cooking with sound, she offers quick food for thought. Keep up with her if you can." 

"I read the book through three times[...] I very much enjoyed it. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions which is no small feat for a book of poetry! It was delightful. The poems collected in  the pet radish, shrunken  invite us equally into routine and catastrophic events. The delights of each new moment is tied with those memories that so casually insist on a place in a present.  With humour, play, and brass, Pirie revels in the daily raucous of domesticity, verbatim conversations, and the language that must somehow hold a whole existence."  

"These interesting and articulate poems seem to come from a very deep well.  […] Her dry humour just races around inside these poems […] Pirie's mature poems are Brautiganian whip-smart and as precise as pinched purpose. […] full of wisdom and a little piss and vinegar.  Someone confident enough to let loose with those assuring assessments, clinical appraisals and whimsical amusements." 


"the pet radish, shrunken (March), the third full collection of poetry from Pearl Pirie, deals in the poetics of sound, language, and play."


"Pearl Pirie and Kateri Lanthier both use a flitting, ghazal-like strategy to deflect the full force of their affections for their respective “yous” in their witty, conversational rambles."
"This very small chapbook came in the mail yesterday along with several other subscription items from rob mclennan’s also small but many-windowed publishing emporium. Once past the cryptic title, this one is more than worth the price of subscription.  [...]  Goldy cannot get out of the woods in this skillfully and amusingly critical parable -- because those woods were darker and more complicated even back in 1918 than we readers first noted. Dark and complicated woods, which in Pirie's interrogative narrative become fresh woods too."
"Pearl Pirie's words live on in the mind long after you've read them. She is an exceptional writer, one who creates a fierce impact on the reader, an impact that lets them know they are in the presence of a wild and beautiful imagination. Her poems are complex and playful, demanding and worthwhile, endowed with wisdom and wonder equally.."
"The poems were obviously crafted with care and attention to language, but manipulation of spelling and syntax purely for its own sake did not prove rewarding for me, similar to Nichol's experimentation in the same way."
"Part of the appeal of following Pirie’s work over the past few years has always been in not entirely knowing where her work might go next, shifting between narrative forms into more traditional engagements with haiku as well as more experimental forms of language and visual poetry, playing constantly with different shapes and possible sounds. [...] [T]hrough her curiosity, her work manages to accomplish a series of unexpected moments and startling, even jarring, images."
"My epiphany that Vertigoheel for the Dilly is a personal essay, touching on interests and frustrations that percolate through her social media outlets—barely skims the surface of this little chapbook’s big ambitions. "
"Stylistically been shed bore offers a plethora of choices and the unendingly exuberant imagination of Pirie who comfortably stakes out her space as she explores a wide range of poetic forms [...] What I have been clumsily trying to express is my admiration for those poems I loved in this collection, and there were many.  But equally, my awe at Pearl Pirie's comfortable range, this book is so much thicker than it appears. "
"It’s only fitting that one of the city’s literary forebears was a poet, as Ottawa has been called “the poetry capital of Canada. For a city of its size it boasts an impressive number and variety of poets, readings and publications [...] An incomplete list of some other writers with Ottawa connections[...] Henry Biessel, Dorothy Speak, Monty Reid, Blaine Marchand, First Nations writer and publisher Katerie Akiwenzie-Damm, Christopher Levenson, Daniel Poliquin, Moira Farr, Amanda Earl, slam poet Oni the Haitian Sensation, jwcurry (called “the best concrete and visual poet in Canada”), Pearl Pirie, Christine McNair, Max Middle, *John Barton, Terry Fallis[...]"