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MacEwen, Gwendolyn.

Toronto, Stoddart, c1984. 143pp, paper, $6.95, ISBN 0-7737-5007-X. (Spectrum Poetry series) Distributed by General Publishing.

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

What chance of success does a brilliant eighteen-year-old have, who drops out of the formal education process in order to become a writer? Very good indeed, if one takes Gwendolyn MacEwen as a sample. Magic Animals, published when MacEwen was in her early thirties, is proof that she did in fact make the right choice. Her interest in myth and ancient history and her travels in the near and mid-East are reflected in many of the poems, especially the explosive "Icarus" and the beautifully imagined group of nine "Arcanum" poems.

Although most of this collection will be highly challenging for teen-age readers, there are pleasures here for even the early teens, especially among the later poems, such as "The Blue Hippopotamus" and "Magic Cats," which are "highly allergic to Prime Ministers, radishes, monks, poets, and death." This handsomely produced Spectrum title will be useful in libraries that do not have the original Macmillan edition (1974). Recommended for teacher use and committed poetry fans.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew C.I., Renfrew, Ont.
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