Book Review: In the Palace of Creation, by Janine Canan

[Reviewed by Jaylan Salah]

Oh, what sweet torture.

This sentence sprang to my mind the moment I began reading Janine Canan’s inspirational poetry collection “In the Palace of Creation.” Why I felt that way will be explained in the paragraphs to come.

“In the Palace of Creation” contains selected poems by Janine from the years 1969-1999. It is divided into 8 sections. Section 7 contains poems translated from other poets’ works and the last section contains the conclusion to all the mystery and enquiry of the previous poems. The thing with good poetry is that it always leaves the door open. It never gives us direct answers or puts a full stop at the end of the sentence. It’s a spontaneous process of living the experience without expecting anything from it. That’s what I felt with Janine’s poetry.

In the beginning, you stand at the door of Canan’s “Abandoned Garden”. You are hesitant and afraid, unsure of what to expect. But as you go through the lines and immerse yourself in the exquisite beauty, you realize that you’re just a pilgrim, finding your Mecca at Janine’s feet. She is the Goddess, the Mother of All and we’re all praying females, drinking from the river of her individuality and strength. Throughout the whole book, you lose your materialism and turn into one of Canan’s birds. You’re the Eagle in “Two Eagles”, losing your shyness and flying away into the sky. You’re the woodpecker that drums upon the hemlock tower in “Forest Temple”. You will scream your lungs away as a peacock in “Stubborn Rose”.

Jaylan Salah is a freelance writer and Synchronized Chaos contributor from Alexandria, Egypt. You may reach Salah at

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An excerpt from Tunnel Road: A novel by A. Paul Cartier



A. Paul Cartier

1. The View

This was no time to agonize over the decision. H had to make it quickly, really soon, like NOW.

The car was stopped, along with many, many others on the 101, under the shadow of San Bruno Mountain. He had seen the brake lights ahead, blooming in the growing gloom. He started braking to slow, hoping no one plowed into him from behind. But suddenly his controlled braking sharpened as it became clear that this was a full stop ahead, not a creeping caterpillar of cars.

He knew that a storm was on its way, but this was something else. A quake, maybe? You didn’t necessarily feel a quake if you were in a fast-moving car. He’d missed feeling several that way. He turned on the radio. Static. Punching the presets, then the scan button. Lots of static, and distant, whispery voices, like announcers way off around the curve of the planet.

– Daddy, why are we stopped? I need to get home. I’m tired. I’m sweaty. Hungry! I got homework up the…

– Yeah, me too, Boo. But there’s a hangup somewhere ahead. Nobody’s moving. What is weird is that I can’t get anything on the radio. Can you check traffic on your phone? See what it is. We just passed an exit. If we can get off this thing here, maybe…

He looked back and around the car. Locked in, but still could probably get off the road. His freeway claustrophobia was starting to kick in.

– We’ll wait a few minutes first. These things often clear out after a few…

He drummed his fingers on the wheel. Not going anywhere soon; might as well as shut off the engine. He paused. Should check ahead to see if anything’s happening. People were starting to honk impatiently.


A. Paul Cartier is an artist and writer based in San Francisco, CA. To see Cartier’s artwork and contact the artist, click here.


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