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Selected Reviews

SugarBeat Music & Poetry

"An intriguing collaboration of words and music" (Ken Rockburn, CBC radio).


"The words enhance the music; more important, the words, often wasted in the roar of rock music, can actually be heard and understood" (Charles Gordon, Ottawa Citizen).


"Poetry that's meant to be played... It's popular because it's so engaging... Spoken voice is the most powerful form of communication. Something about the tone just grabs attention... People are hungry for good words" (Wes Smiderle, Ottawa Citizen).


"In a synchronistic blending with music, as presented by SugarBeat, [performance poetry] even threatens to convert a few diehard poemophobes... The poet is 'scored like an instrument'... Keyboards, bass and saxophone match the music's mood to poetry written and read by McMaster, making it stormy, quirky, otherwoldly, contemplative, tender, sensual or foot-tapping" (Sylvia Adams, Ottawa Citizen).

Learning to Ride

"Pulsing, muscular...the energy and discipline that McMaster praises in the act of riding she also displays in her lines...exultant sensuality" (Books in Canada).


"Fuses the visions of artist and writer...Highly recommended" (Canadian Library Association Journal).


"Catches the glow of being up there, up on the saddled horse...and the results are playful and pleasing, like a rider in a smooth canter...Surprisingly relevant and earthy wisdom" (Citizen).

The Hummingbird Murders

"A metaphor for the difficult examination of the facts of marriage: the hurts, illusions, false assumptions, the regrets, but also the intimacies achieved within the mess of reality, the regenerative power of a pair of whirring wings...dark, powerful and moving" (Citizen).


"Eminently accessible poems...Emotion is caught and communicated, and we are made to see again what is so hard to see: the strength and fragility of a long-term relationship. A beautiful book" (C.A.A. judge).


"A relaxed spell-maker...with genuine charm she communicates a relish for experience" (Citizen).

Dark Galaxies

"Strips away the wrapping from human relationships...displays intelligence and integrity...gets at essences while maintaining an optimistic energy" (Toronto Star).


"The rhythm of the spoken voice very near the heart of things, graceful and inevitable" (ARC).


"Intelligent, quirky, energetic...considerable talent and power, poetry with verve and imagination" (Citizen).


"Filled with a lovely combination of high seriousness and cheap jokes, the way the profound and the banal confuse and illuminate our lives" (bp Nichol).


"Comments with wit and insight on the domestic scene" (Poetry Canada Review).

Dangerous Graces: Wordmusic Theatre

"Enriches the repertoire of contemporary Canadian drama available for both performance and study...challenges performance conventions...playful, provocative, contemplative. Her skilful interweaving of woman-oriented themes and performance art makes Dangerous Graces an innovative example of alternative theatre" (Canadian Literature).


North/South, Pass this way again, Wordmusic: With First Draft

"Demonstrates how performance art can be structured to create the illusion of spontaneity...rich and intriguing work... Deceptive lightness to the cynical text... unexpected monumentality. The best passages cling to the mind hauntingly" (Patrick Cardy, Ottawa Citizen).


"A viable and rich example of the form...McMaster's poems shift from the traditionally lyric through the chant-like to the gnomic... McClure's performance notation frees them into an imagined largeness...both extends the oral possiblilites of the original poem and frees its language from conventional signification... The whole book glows with intelligence and the collaborative spirit; I heartily recommend it" (Doug Barbour, Canadian Poetry Chronicle).


"A form beyond words took shape in the air as the sounds themselves acquired meaning" (Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen).

Song Lyrics

Science Songs (song cycle by Andrew McClure). "Off to a swinging start... A clever melding of traditional street word and rhythmic patterns that generated a few smiles..." (Jacob Siskind, Ottawa Citizen).


False Spring (song cycle by John Armstrong) "An attractive work and it was well presented" (Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen).



Susan McMaster's works copyright © to the author.


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