Books & Reviews


A Year Unfolding

A Year Unfolding - a haiku chapbook released by Folded Word, January 27, 2017


Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads - a tanka collection released by Keibooks, Sept. 2015


Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads - Review by Jenny Ward Angyal in Skylark, A Tanka Journal, Issue 4:1, Summer 2016:

Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads - Review by Maxianne Berger in Atlas Poetica, A Journal of World Tanka, Number 24, March 2016:

Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads - Review by an'ya in cattails, January 2016:

Author/Cover Artist: Debbie Strange, Canada
Dimensions: 8 inches x 9 inches
Construction: Soft perfectbound
Total page count: 85
Publisher: Keibooks, USA
Publish date: 2015
Language: English
ISBN: 9781512361124

WARP AND WEFT TANKA THREADS is a unique presentation insofar as it’s author Debbie Strange from Canada, explains in her Author’s Note in-part:

“Each triptych in this tanka collection contains poems taken from different publications, but sharing a common thread.”

In addition, M. Kei writes from the back cover blurb of this book in-part, as being:

“Primal poetry with a pagan heart” Warp and Weft by Debbie Strange weaves tanka into short threads of three each, each triptych building into larger sequence that tells the story of a poet with a raven’s eye.”

Already I was intrigued and not to be disappointed. Starting with the cover art “A Spider’s Loom” which is by the author herself, and in keeping with her triptych theme. The two that I enjoyed the most mentioned “father and mother”:

a prairie Gael

she sets sail
through oceans of grain
anchored to her father
trailing fingers in his wake
untangling beards of barley

on the rotting dance floor
our father built
in the ash grove he planted
between rows of aching years

on father’s coffin
the cowboy hat and polished boots
of a prairie Gael
the skirling pipes
that sing him home


she calls us in
we press our noses
against wet glass
as tumbleweeds turn cartwheels
in the yellow bruise of sky

in the nursing home
parchment skin cradles brittle bones
a blue labyrinth
inked on mother’s handscape
time’s trembling calligraphy

sister roses
heads drooping
these petals of memory
dappling the motherstone

and a few more of my favorites for your enjoyment too:


the way snow
covers fallen leaves
this need
to make order
out of our chaos

the glow
of candled sea ice
at sundown
snowflakes melting
on our lashes

we sip Darjeeling
and dream
of growing marigolds
in monsoon rain


after the storm
you gathered shreds
of the garden
my bleeding heart
in the small of your hand

shearing back
the forget-me-nots
we planted
beside the sun dial
time and I stand still

in the hat you gave me
I am undone
by faded ribbons
and the scent of lilies

turning season

winter winds
play an aeolian harp
of barbed wire
a lone coyote and I howl
at the long night moon

lying in sage
on limestone cliffs
sunning myself
with ribbon snakes
emerging from hibernation

mercurial wind
in this turning season
my body
a weather vane tilting
in a new direction

What a riveting book of tanka this is indeed, much to my liking as I am sure it will be to all of those who have the privilege to read it.
—UHTS cattails Tanka Book Reviewer an'ya, USA


Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads - Review by Caroline Skanne in hedgerow poems, Nov. 2015:


‘Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads’ by Debbie Strange is an 86 page long collection of poems seamlessly woven into stunning tanka sequences, leading the reader through the dark, the light & the in-between…
our hands are stained —
of war zones
with no legs to walk
along the path to peace
missing —
now they search
the dump for bodies
hundreds of missing
and murdered Indigenous sisters
whose spirits wait for justice
limned —
a ragged curl
of birch bark fluttering
in the sun
even our smallest wounds
become limned with light
spangled —
she kneels
in the spangled grass
listening deeply
to the opening hymn
of a monarch chrysalis
folding into me —
crossing over
the bridge of sighs
I felt you
folding into me
folding into prayer
falling into flight —
I let go
and your lightness
carries me
beyond the sky
into myself
Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads is as exciting as it is ambitious, moving through a narrative of sea wolves & cloudscapes, wild forests & war zones. Speckled with rich imagery, honesty & sophistication Debbie Strange’s tanka story is not just a book, but also an adventure.
it can be purchased at the link below —

Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads, by Debbie Strange, Published by Keibooks

Press Release – For Immediate Release – Please post to all appropriate venues
13 September 2015
Primal poetry with a pagan heart, Warp and Weft by Debbie Strange weaves tanka into short threads of three each, each triptych building into a larger sequence that tells the story of a poet with a raven’s eye. Traversing the wilderness of the human heart, Strange’s map is written with quills upon clouds. Each triptych is an incantation to accompany the moments of life and impregnate them with the fecund power of darkness. She is comfortable with night, with ravens, ashes, soil, pain, and the welling blood of an injured heart. But for all the ghosts that glide through her lines, the wind always rises upwards to become clouds and stars.
my hands
tend the wild roses
upon your grave
in blood and blossoms
I sanctify your name
into midnight
by stars upon stars
nothing but stars
at the stoplight
she squeegees
car windows
her scrawny arms tattooed
with poetry and addiction
she lies trembling
as he dissects the diagnosis
three daughter moths
flutter in fear’s white blaze
riding pillion
my heart
against your back
we unzip the highway
at the velocity of night
“Debbie Strange’s imagination dwells in the world of elemental forces. In her tanka we encounter fire (“burnt down fields of dreams” and the “sun’s closed fist”), water (“glacier hearts” and “bouquets of wild rain”), earth (“dust of love letters” and “stone sorrows”), and wind (“windswept bone” and a “gypsy wind”). At home with ocean and prairie, desert and city, Strange writes elegantly-crafted triptychs that are lyrical and sensual, and saturated with colour and scent. Strange is a songwriter as well as artist and poet and her tanka are steeped in the music of “fog horns sounding a dirge”, “blues wailing through harmonica bones,” and “the bakeshop cafĂ©’s a capella harmonies.” The poet also possesses the rare ability to surprise: sand in her “shell mouth” never becomes pearls, and the “ragged scars” on her back are “remnants of that night they tore off my broken wings.” Warp and Weft is a fine and sophisticated debut collection.”
—Angela Leuck, author of A Cicada in the Cosmos and Garden Meditations
“Warp and Weft unfurls like the first bulbs of spring, strong and unquiet, they are “the cleft between mountains” where echoes live. These poems, these tiny bones, small as phalanges, but what would we do without them?”
—Katherena Vermette, author of North End Love Songs, winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and the 2015 selection for On the Same Page, Manitoba’s Book Club
“Warp and Weft is Debbie Strange’s Leaves of Grass. We have an amazing poet living amongst us. Let us sing her praises.”
—Alexis Rotella, author of Lip Prints, a tanka collection, and Between Waves, haiku
“Canadian poet Debbie Strange’s first collection of short form poetry, Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads, is stunningly beautiful and deeply moving. The titular threads each are three tanka, from the last lines of which a title for the thread is drawn. The arrangement of verses shows the meticulous and discriminating care of an art gallery show. Strange manages to combine gorgeous language with a spare diction. So much is said in a few well-chosen words. These tanka are a pleasure to read and read again. Debbie Strange has emerged as an important voice in tanka poetry.”
—Denis M. Garrison, author of First Winter Rain (tanka) and Hidden River: Haiku and editor of Modern English Tanka, Haiku Harvest, Ambrosia: Journal of Fine Haiku, and others
Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads
by Debbie Strange
Edited by M. Kei
ISBN 978-1512361124 (Print) 94 pp
$12.00 USD (print) or $5.00 USD (Kindle)
Also available in print and ebook at and other online retailers.
P O Box 516
Perryville, MD 21903 USA

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