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Brett, Brian.

Saskatoon, Thistledown Press. 1987. 71pp. paper. ISBN 0-920633-32-3 (cloth) $22.00. 0-920633-33-1 (paper) $8.95. CIP

Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

The forty-five prose poems in this collection won't disappoint readers attracted by the book's striking cover. which uses the author's own photograph of a cactus flower, dramatically underexposed, and compelling careful tracing of the sensuous lines of leaves and flower.

In most of the poems, Brett's imagery rises spontaneously from his awareness of the natural world. When this falls him, as it does in “The Gaudy Dawn," the result is forced and lifeless. He shows a fine eye for gruesome details in “Tear of the Pig" and "Killing a White Thing." The nightmarish "Caver" rivals Poe's obsessive fear of being buried alive, but less morbid fancies are here, too, In the amiably loony "A Garden Goes to Sea" and "The Exchange."

Most teenagers will respond to some of these poems. Those who have aging relatives will be moved by the emptiness of old age in "Old Men Always Live in Little Houses," and those who hunt or fish will especially like the title work. In high school libraries this will be useful to English teachers—these prose poems might work with some of the students who reject the apparent artificiality of more traditional poetry. Public library patrons will find Brett a fresh voice in the Canadian poetry section.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew Collegiate Institute. Renfrew, Ont.
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