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Waddington, Miriam.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1986. 422pp, paper, $24.95, ISBN 0-19-540535-8. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

In "Harvest," Miriam Waddington tells of her dream of "a crop of books" and of cultivating, ploughing, and sowing "words like / seeds." The almost five hundred poems in this collection, produced over a fifty-year career, make up a very rich crop indeed. Reprinted, without revision or omission, are eleven earlier collections and about a hundred poems not previously collected. An afterword provides some information on Waddington's literary and personal life, and the title index supplies the date for each poem, a useful feature for researchers.

Waddington's other careers (as social worker and university lecturer) are the source of some poems, but she works most often out of the frame of her inner life. The poems that deal with her failed marriage are intensely moving, bul still detached enough to be free of self-pity. This detached stance also reinforces the tone in poems like "Sad Winter in the Land of Can. Lit.," which mercilessly skewers some ripe targets, and "Popular Geography":

Miami is one big yellow
pantsuit where the ocean
is louder than the sighs
of old age . . .

Her Jewish roots and prairie childhood have also been a rich source for her, and it is these poems that will be most successful with teen-aged readers. The publisher has managed to pack all these riches into a reasonably-sized, apparently uncrowded volume, with good paper, large clear print, and spacious layout. Highest recommendation for all public and high school libraries.

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