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Dennis Cooley.
Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 1988..
96pp., paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-920633-37-4. cloth, $20.00. ISBN 0-920633-36-6. CIP.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by Alan Thomas.

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

This is the fourth collection of poems by the poet and academic Dennis Cooley. As an editor he has been active in producing anthologies of prairie writing and as a poet he has published frequently in the literary magazines CVII, Dandelion, Grain and Arts Manitoba . This is a lively collection, playful in concept and in the handling of words. The free runs, stops and pivots of the lines suggest that Cooley's poetic descent is through the Iyric tradition of e.e. Cummings. The most successful poems draw teasing ambiguities from colloquial speech, as in "labiarinth":

the road that long
long road was paved
every goddam inch of it
thru Alta this was
you could tell

the way was paved

Paved roads, mosquitoes, the fairground in town - Cooley uses the features of life on the western plains and often handles its trials and possibilities with a mixture of high-spirited energy and feeling that will appeal to high school students. Amidst the general playfulness, some bold turning of words about and inside out registers the contemporary mark on writing of post-modern linguistics and semiotics.

Alan Thomas, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
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