SOULDUST AND PEARLS: ONTARIO POETRY ANTHOLOGY 1981
Volume 11 Number 1.
An auspicious first of a projected series from the Ontario Council of Teachers of English! The editors have selected "170 best poems" (criteria not stated) written by students and teachers of English in Ontario. About a third of the volume presents the work of elementary school children; another third, of secondary students; the next ten pages, of post-secondary students; and the final thirty pages, of teachers and lecturers. Although this wide range in age and expertise unavoidably results in very uneven quality, I think it also provides greater interest and variety than if the anthology had been restricted to any one of these divisions.
Children at the elementary level speculate about the unicorn, a ghost house, and "If I were Prime Minister for Just One Day." They paint word-pictures of fireworks, "crackling/Dreaded volcano spurts," of sports and animals, and of the planets around the sun, "circling, circling, circling. .." Secondary students marvel at waves and rainbows and ponder love and death and loneliness and dreams. Concerned about pollution and urban sprawl and the future of Canada, they still can have fun with a hippopotamus on a bus. At the post-secondary level, students suddenly reveal a wide-eyed fascination with the whole human race. Teachers and lecturers, exploring the possibilities of words, write about teaching and imagination and varied impressions of life.
This is accessible poetry. Even those who normally do not read poetry will enjoy this anthology, reviving memories of youth and sharpening their awareness of life around them. Teachers and students will be interested and inspired to see what their peers have achieved. I recommend this anthology for schools and public libraries and anyone interested in the range of poetry written in today's schools, although I missed the convenience of an index, or even a table of contents when I wished to re-read certain poems. However, the binding seems serviceable and the print is exceptionally readable, on good quality paper.
Gudrun Wight, Faculty of Education, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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