Selected Reviews

Trinity Street

Elegant and melodious poems. … From transit rides to office tasks, Currin brews heady substance from quotidian routines.”

Vancouver Sun

“In this fifth collection, Currin maintains the quick, leaping, and associative qualities of the poems in the previous four books. Currin’s is a poetics with roots in the New York school, and which, Currin has transferred to the streets of Vancouver. Currin’s is a ‘local’ poetry, local to this writer’s social, political, and artistic life in the City of Glass… Currin’s is writing aware that ‘No one ever completes’; what is said trails off, loops are left open, calls dropped or go unanswered. That struggle to connect points directly to a riptide of grief running through the poems: ‘the deaths are often sooner / than expected.’ Many of the poems are or act like epistles, addressing deceased family members, dear friends, and the environmental crisis.”


“The poems in Trinity Street seem composed as a kind of sketchbook across a great expanse; as a singular sequence of lyric reports, documenting Currin’s particular time, space and place…This is a work deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest, writing the ecological crisis and persistent rain alongside social action and engagement, offering a narrative lyric shaped to the space of daily life… The poems as a whole centre around Currin’s particular geographic, social, political and intimate landscape, even as each lyric section clusters around particular groupings of poems, each of which lean into one particular consideration or another. This collection is all, one might say, around conversation, circling the whole of what it means for Currin to be a citizen, a partner, a friend and simply a human being.”

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Hider/Seeker: Stories

“Her prose is spare and clean and her stories can be concise snapshots of existence, surreal expressions of psychological states, or, sometimes, a fascinating mix of both. Characters hide from each other, from themselves, seek peace, and seek connection.”

The Malahat Review

“As a writer, Currin suggests a certain kind of knowing: she understands the aspirations for peace, freedom, and unburdening and yet fully senses the difficulty of attaining any of them.”

The Toronto Star

“You can tell that this debut short-story collection by New Westminster’s Jen Currin is the work of an experienced poet. The prose is spare and alive, phrased by someone accustomed to expression that is both open and exact.”

Georgia Straight


“Currin’s poems are like puzzles you can’t solve, except that their missing pieces thrill rather than frustrate. Clever, conversational, and complex, Currin’s School is required reading.”

Winnipeg Free Press

School is about the ways in which life elucidates the connection (or lack thereof) between human beings, the balance between vulnerability and drawing lines, and the importance of staying present and embracing change. As compelling as what Currin’s saying is how she says it. Her work vibrates in what I call the sensual infrastructure: a logic of the senses that takes up residence in intuition’s heart-mind circuitry.”


“Currin is a virtual Penelope weaving a conversational tone throughout School, but just when it feels a story is coming on, narrative is unwoven […] There is an optimistic yearning to trust that things—relationships, gender biases, politics, economic instability—will get better, and yet a hesitation to fully believe so.”

Canadian Literature

The Inquisition Yours

“Imagine a world in which identity is a question you ask of yourself. The world of Jen Currin’s most recent collection is such an inquisition. It is not in a state of ‘being,’ as was the twentieth-century world, but of reading and of being read. The Inquisition Yours is two worlds, splitting, always, into more. It is the world ‘you’ asks of ‘itself’ and the world in which it answers by assigning readings to take the place of texts, objects, selves and moments. It is a world full of delight and brilliant imagery.”

Arc Poetry Magazine

“This is poetry about the numinous, the subtle and slightly esoteric ways of getting through days.”

New Pages

“Currin creates alternative communities, whole neighbourhoods, ‘in the streets of this or that thought’ to connect political action against continual contemporary atrocities, with the potential that ‘You might move. You might move /someone.'”

The Georgia Straight


“In essence, the poems are meant to disrupt our sense of reality, but the novelty of strangeness alone isn’t what gives Currin’s work its power. Her images are most memorable when they are emotionally evocative, as when she writes of leaving childhood behind: ‘Your shoes get too tight, / you forget, and the truth / as we know it / is worn away.’ Those lines are vivid and poignantly true to life.”

Toronto Star

“Some poets make beautiful, playful poems that remain coy and mysterious after reading and rereading. Jen Currin is of that kind.”

Broken Pencil

“Her best poems read like dreams, full of pieces of ordinary life that have been transformed into mysterious messages.”

Gloss Magazine

The Sleep of Four Cities

In The Sleep of Four Cities, you can let Currin’s language take you down alleys, over bridges and through gates, without a destination, and you are overtaken by surprise and variety.”

 BC Bookworld

“Currin’s poetry attends us, lighting the ball at midnight, where first love and first terror are arm-in-arm, waiting in their figurative, gesticulating disguises to welcome us to a primitive happiness.”

Rain Taxi Review of Books

“She has created an enchanted universe—where senses quiver, and colors are so saturated, they’re almost hallucinogenic. But beauty draws the reader close, only to plunge into emotional risk: everything is transient and uncertain. Even nostalgia is uncomfortable, like ‘working…a new glove,’ as if memories had arrived in the wrong size… There’s no complacency here; Currin’s bold lyric poems startle readers awake.”

Foreword Magazine