What critics have said about several of Ken Rivard’s previous publications:
MISSIONARY POSITIONS (fiction, Black Moss Press, 2008): “Developing different protagonists with distinct voices is tough but Rivard pulls it off. A master of imagery…once again Rivard treats these very personal subjects with humanity. MISSIONARY POSITIONS reads real, touches readers deeply, and hits home on many fronts.” Wendy Rajala- THE CALGARY HERALD.
WHISKEY EYES (fiction, Black Moss Press, 2004):
1. “Rivard’s flash fiction works…inventive…poetic… all relate to a single narrative arc and thus create a moving and lasting impression. In an era when more and more people live to an advanced age, many readers are likely to relate to Mark’s (the main protagonist) dilemma and find the subtlety and humanity with which Rivard treats this very personal, yet universal theme to be a source of comfort and quiet inspiration.” K Gordon Neufeld, THE CALGARY HERALD.
2. “An intense book that deals with the substantial emotional involvement stemming from the responsibility of caring for aging parents.” Jennifer Partridge., THE CALGARY HERALD.
3. “Demonstrates the problem when those aged parents become the children…a difficult problem handled brilliantly.” Kirk Layton, CHAPTERS/INDIGO website.
BOTTLE TALK (fiction, Black Moss Press, 2002:
1. “In this collection of short monologues, Rivard explores alcoholism with an approach that ranges from humorous to brutally frank. The voices we hear in BOTTLE TALK are male and female, young and old, drunk and sober, and always convincing. This is largely due to Rivard’s ability to vary his style from tight and poetic to sloppy and colloquial in a way that makes each persona distinct and believable. BOTTLE TALK is an excellent display of Rivard’s talent as a writer. It is dynamic and sincere, and althought it is connected by a common thread of alcoholism, the ugly truths that Rivard forces us to view with eyes wide open, are not just those of alcoholism but the basic truths of humanity and life.” Heather Doody, CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL.
2. “Intensely written with compelling, graphical honesty. Rivard is an astute observer. Reading this book is like probing an open wound that has not healed. It is a brilliant collection of truth and glimpses into ones very soul.” Anne Burke, PRAIRIE JOURNAL.
MOM,THE SCHOOL FLOODED (children’s literature, Annick Press, 1995, revised/re-issued 2007- Korean rights old to Gibburi, 2009):
1. “The book’s success is based on its perfect marriage of text and illustration. Ken Rivard’s closing dialogue involves the reader in the creative process, providing firsthand experience of ‘creative storytelling'” Christine Linge, CM MAGIZINE.
2. “…young readers will enjoy watching someone else test the boundaries of credibility.” Diane Fitzgerald, CM MAGAZINE.
3. “Readers are left with a brilliant illustration to let their minds solve the rest of the story. MOM,THE SCHOL FLOODED is an excellent story to add to your collection.” John Dryden, CM MAGAZINE.
4. “A remarkable story about a school gone wet.” Katherine Garber, SMS BOOK REVIEWS.
IF SHE COULD TAKE ALL THESE MEN (fiction, Beach Holme Publishers, 1995):
1. “Amazing collection…captures a poignant vignette from the life of an extraordinary ordinary person. Such thought-provoking word portraits bring alive a diverse representation of humanity and render the reader party to intense moments in private lives. The author (Rivard) does an absorbing and competent job of conjuring entire lives in these micro-bites of narrative.” Virginia Gillham, CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL.
2. “The pleasure is opening one door after another onto lives quickly drawn, sketches of characters caught in odd moments neither random nor monumental. It is this interpretation of lives, this ever-latent potential for changing places, that I find the most engaging quality of this collection, though adroit descriptions are another. The reader will be drawn in by curiosity as to what or who might appear next…exemplary…funny…mysterious…quite wonderful … moments of unusual perception and fine writing appear throughout.” Roo Borson, BOOKS IN CANADA.
3. “Exciting and well-crafted…Rivard’s short short stories are carefully written narratives that provide glimpses into the lives of some very unusual people…poignant…heartbreaking and honest…the best capture the telling moments of life with humor and compassion…engaging.” Debbie Howlett, QUILL & QUIRE.
FRANKIE’S DESIRES (poetry, Quarry Press, 1987):
1.. “Rivard feels closer to the down and out than to the high and mighty. Frankie, whose frank desires, devilish sense of humor and ironical awareness of his own devilty, makes the book lively. Rivard is a fine reporter of the foibles of this protagonist. The wit is rich and typical of the tone of this artfully sophisticated but innocent- even simple looking- work. Like Frost before him, Rivard is touching the heart with Frankie’s apparent naivete, only pretending to be Everyman. This lovely, lively, loving work may be the most important repositioning of a Canadian poet to appear this year… establishes him as a powerful writer and this collection is recommended for libraries with Commonwealth, Canadian and contemporary shelves. Rivard, the Calgary poet of the unforgettable Frankie, will be heard from again and again.” Robert Solomon, SMALL PRESS.
2. “Frankie ain’t beautiful but he’s audaciously real.'”Mark Lowey, THE CALGARY HERALD.
3. “Ken Rivard’s poems are sad/funny reflections of ourselves as we dream-desire our way through the maze that is defined as life. His verse lines echo in the ears of all who would listen to him.” Michael O Nowlan, CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL.
4. “Frankie’s Desires become ours-to live-to open up to- to understand.” Gerald Hill. THE EDMONTON JOURNAL.
KISS ME DOWN TO SIZE (poetry, Thistledown Press, 1983):
1. “Sense of commitment… written from the engaged stance of an observing human being in this world. Rivard keeps a trained eye (and ear) on the emotional energy that lies in wait beneath the lines…is not written by a pompus poet in capital letters. It’s voice is gentle, insistent in its quiet way and everywhere fraught with a concurrent sense of humility and necessity.” Judith Fitzgerald CANADIAN LITERATURE.
2. “Rivard has a good sense of when to spin out and where it should go. And he nicely flips a surreal attachment to many of his statements.” Michael Cullen, OUT OF THE BLUE.
3. “Presents with bracing force a regional voice that is astringent, arresting and sometimes unforgettable- almost impossible to ignore.” Allan Hustak, ALBERTA REPORT.
4. “Writes in simple, colloquial diction…uses spare language, an unadorned style.” Anne Burke, WRITERS QUARTERLY.
5. “Rivard’s essential humanism is obvious…able to write empathically about elderly and young alike…diction and imagery are strong and pleasing.” Martin Singleton, CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL.
6. “The most impressive aspect of Rivard’s work is its tendency towards a surrealistic, dream-like quality… .” Bob Attridge, NEWEST REVIEW.