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Saskatoon, Thistledown Press, c1985. 122pp, paper, ISBN 0-920633-04-8 (cloth) $24.00,0-920633-05-6 (paper) $10.95. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

Dancing Visions is a strong, powerful, and in its way inspirational, collection of poetry. There are thirty-seven poets represented in the book, all of whom have previously been published by Thistledown Press since it was formed ten years ago. Many of the poets are established writers: Leona Com, Lorna Crozier, Tom Wayman. Others are less well known: Ken Rivard, Doris Hillis, Gerald Hill. What they all share, is a respect for language and a command of that language. Their poetry, however, is often as diverse as it is imaginative.

Peter Christensen, for example, uses the barest of words to create the most evocative of impressions: "Our sound the only sound/of leather stretching/of horseshoe iron/of spark on rock." (From "Packstring Pace"). Kirn Matman, on the other hand, uses a prose/poetry form in "The Technology Of The Hostility Of Objects" to achieve a similar hard-hitting and penetrating piece of work. "No, it is not so much to fool himself as because he is ashamed. Ashamed that most things which were once to be played or used at will, his own body, this house, this street, have passed beyond his control, although, of course, it has always been so."

Then there is Gary Hyland. Hyland uses the cadence and accents of language to reproduce reality and force the reader to feel emotions as diverse as anger and pity The outcome, however, is understanding. In "A Safe And Easy Thing," Hyland writes: "Once I read a whole page of words/That my husband set into chunks./It was easy, really, very easy ./It was about itself and me/and I could forget it right away. /That's something to flaunt safely ./It's not as if you'd read a poem."

But of course, you did just read a poem, and by the end of Dancing Visions you are immensely glad you had the opportunity. Dancing Visions is a birthday gift from Thistledown Press to all Canadians.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
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