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George McWhirter.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1983.
94pp, paper, $17.95 (cloth), $8.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-88750-503-1 (cloth), 0-88750-505-8 (paper).

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Phyllis James.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

This small book of poems, packed with images, sounds, and metaphor tightly woven, has a message for all Canadians. In the first half, the author has selected poems that have appeared in various magazines, but the second half deals with Canadian immigrants, their loneliness and homesickness as they learn the new language from an Irish immigrant teacher. She, in turn, learns of their rich culture they left behind. Most poems tell of homey, mundane subjects. The snow, ice, and wind predominate over summer sun. Colourful and graphic descriptions give, in condensed thought, the picture or idea. "They saw the hump of her widowhood in the window" and ". . .some old ones overstepping their wisdom" are two of many examples. Apt verbs express the concepts succinctly. The reader gains a lucid vision of specific hopes, joys, and fears of such immigrants as the Greeks in their music and dancing, the Japanese who were interned during the War, and the Vietnamese concerned about those left behind as each tries to tell his or her story haltingly in the new language. ". . .us growed old in a foreign language." These powerful narratives, lyric and descriptive poems call for many re-readings. Recommended.

Phyllis James, Qualicum Beach, BC.
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