"There are some collections of poetry that after you read them you are left with a deepening appreciation of the miracle of just being here. And Openwork and Limestone is such a collection, as it addresses the need for clarity in the quest for meaning, a meaning often obscured by the busyness of the everyday. This is a collection that will quiet the noise of this busyness and give the reader beauty and thoughts to contemplate what is not only important, but essential to the examined life. It is a collection to be savoured"
Openwork and Limestone reviewed by Deborah Ann Tunney in Periodicities, June 2, 2023. Read full review here
"Frances Boyle attends to the ecstatic, liminal and ceremonial aspects of time and the way they impact private and public histories. What results is a document in which “The new rituals/ lean into laughter, imbue nonsense gestures// with meaning.”
Openwork and Limestone reviewed by Melanie Brannagan Frederikson in Winnipeg Free Press, March 25, 2023. Read full review here
" In Seeking Shade, Frances Boyle writes movingly and elegantly about the many ways things can go wrong in people’s lives. These are engaging and dramatically persuasive stories of marriages breaking down and relationships gone stale, of people evolving and growing apart, harbouring secrets, engaging in casual betrayals, and facing impossible decisions. Seeking Shade is an unsentimental yet humane collection of short fiction, written with consummate skill and restraint. "
Jury comments, Danuta Gleed Award 2021
“I was drawn back to Seeking Shade’s detailed prose and absorbing images, again and again, compelled to find out what was coming next. Francis Boyle displays her versatility by including historical, contemporary, and speculative fiction as well as a variety of narrative structures. But one thing remains constant: her ability to transform the ordinary lives of her characters into something special for the reader. Whether her characters are filing clerks, students, married couples, or child-minders; whether they’re caught up in politics, romance, illness, or the pain of unrequited love, Boyle makes us care.”
Judge’s comment (Naomi MacKinnon) on Seeking Shade as First Place Winner, Miramichi Review Very Best! Awards 2021
"Boyle’s prose is richly detailed, disciplined and visually precise. Her stories tackle complex and difficult relationships with great compassion but without resorting to sentiment or becoming maudlin. These are smart, provocative stories: dramatically absorbing, humane and psychologically rich. Seeking Shade is a significant accomplishment,"
Ian Colford "Best Reads of 2020", March 25, 2021. Full review here
"Frances Boyle’s .. skill and control are much in evidence here, the short story genre fitting beautifully with her spare and careful style and her clear-eyed grasp of intent... Boyle’s approach is keenly intelligent. The writing is sophisticated, the language often crystalline and always precise. The characters are sympathetic without hijacking the narrative; one has the impression that well-conceived ideas underpin these stories. I felt, after finishing the volume, that many of the stories found here deserved a second reading.... Simply put, Seeking Shade is a very fine collection. "
Seeking Shade reviewed by Valerie Mills-Milde in The Miramichi Reader, October 11, 2020. Full review here
"Seeking Shade is a wonderful short story collection that speaks to the universality of feelings and circumstances "
Seeking Shade reviewed by Dontaná McPherson-Joseph in Foreword Reviews, September 27, 2021. Full review here
Maple trees and finches, plucked apples and roses, it is impossible to find a poem in Boyle’s collection that does not hinge on and celebrate the recurring growth found in non-human entities. As the speaker negotiates ghosts, she acknowledges her connections to the earthly world, insisting that these phantoms, spectres, and fairies are also of the same dirt and wind she knows so well. In the truest sense of the words, This White Nest is rooted in the physical earth."
This White Nest reviewed by Allie McFarland in The Anti-Languorous Project, February 16, 2020. Full review here
" This White Nest has an earthy and ancient spirit about it, as if you might encounter a ‘divine feminine’ or ‘wise woman’ figure at its core, a woman who takes you by the hand and walks you through the book as a guide… There is magic in how poems arrive on a page or laptop screen, so the notion of something alchemical being involved is fitting… We are not, Boyle suggests, individuals without connections. We are, instead, individuals who are woven into an elemental web of creativity. Any sort of separation is just an illusion, whether it be between past and present, or between humans in relationships, or between people and natural landscapes. This is a book that sings, and then makes you want to go out for a walk in the woods.
This White Nest reviewed by Kim Fahner in Prairie Fire, February 28, 2020. Read the full review here
"Frances Boyle has captured readers in this mesmerizing modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel, and by subverting the conventional and static fairy tale narrative, Boyle encourages readers to acknowledge that these characters are human and inherently flawed. "
Tower reviewed in The British Columbia Review, August 21, 2021 Read the full review here
"Tower is a charming fast-paced tale of the relationship between a mother and a daughter, also fairy-tale like. The characters are eccentric people I want to know and be friends with."
Amanda Earl on Tower as one of her 2018 favourites, in Queen Mob's Review of 2018.
"Boyle's exceptionally well-written story ... draws on her admirable poetic talent to craft the novella in a deeply lyrical style, making Tower a delight to read..."
Tower reviewed by Ian Thomas Shaw in Ottawa Review of Books, November 3, 2018. Read the full review here
"This is such a good book. It’s a novella, but it’s so full and rich that it feels like a novel, and a thoughtfully complex one at that. The characters are fully-developed, living people, and the story...is both realistic and cautiously hopeful in its depictions of close relationships, whether familial or romantic... Tower is honest, insightful, and beautifully written, with the kind of tight execution to which many novellas aspire, but which few achieve. I cannot recommend this book highly enough."
Tower reviewed by Amy Mitchell in The /tƐmz/ Review, Issue 4, summer 2018 . Read the full review here
"Frances Boyle deploys all of that fine classic imagery [chiaroscuro , the play of light and shadow], giving it an excellent contemporary makeover: High-beams slice through the mental clutter on a lonesome drive, or a flickering candle illuminates a mother’s path forward on another less-than-picture-perfect holiday. But she also does a heck of a lot more...There are passages carved by light, for sure, but also a bit of a sound and light show with lines that whirr and flash and dazzle, as well"
Light-carved Passages reviewed by Rob Thomas on Apt. 613., February 9, 2015. Read the full review here.
"Rich in imagery, attentive to language and music, the poems have a strong narrative style, often so intensely personal that the reader winces alongside the speaker’s strain. Loyal to the bonds between women ... Dedications to poets such as Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn MacEwen, and Brecken Hancock indicate Boyle’s apprenticeship to poems that plumb emotion, secrets, and family history. As a whole the collection speaks to lived experience."
Light-carved Passages reviewed by Danielle Janess in The Malahat Review 192, Autumn 2015. Read the full review here.
"In often hauntingly beautiful phrases, Frances endows the everyday with the profound and the deeply humane. Her touch is perfect in these poems, it gives us grace and patience and wonder in equal measure. A wise book, it kept me warm and grateful long after I had read it."
Recommendation of Light-carved Passages as a "book to be snowed in with" by Deborah-Anne Tunney on 49th Shelf. Read the full blog post here.
Interviews & Profiles
Interview on Splintered Disorder Press, Feb 5, 2021. Read it here
Interview on Small Machine Talks, Dec 20, 2020. Listen here
Ottawa International Writers Festival, "Art of the Short Story" podcast, first aired Oct 2, 2020. Listen here
Interview and reading, CKCU "Asking for a friend", Sept 15, 2020. Listen here.
Interview on Train: a poetry journal , July 16, 2020. Read it here
Chaudiere Books Six Questions interview #27, July 5, 2020. Read it here
Q & A on Anita Kushwaha's blog, April 14. 2020. Read it here
Interview on Open Book: "Keep It Short: Frances Boyle on Rewrites, Taking Chances, and the Authors That Inspired Her", April 1, 2020. Read it here
Medium Spotlight Series #39, curated by rob mclennan, July 1, 2019. Read it here.
Poetry mini-interviews, conducted by Thomas Whyte, December 2018/January 2018. Read them here.
Conversation with Liam Burke on CKCU's "Literary Landscapes", June 14, 2018. Listen to it here.
Profile by rob mclennan on Open Book Ontario. Read it here.
Interviewed by Giacomo Panico on In Town and Out, CBC Ottawa radio, November 8, 2014
Interviewed by Susan Johnston on Friday Special Blend, CKCU Radio, January 11, 2015.
Interviewed by Pearl Pirie on Literary Landscapes, CKCU Radio, December 4, 2014 (re Light-carved Passages) and May 5, 2016 (re Authors for Indies)