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Coles, Don. K.

Montreal. Vehicule Press. 1987. 69pp, paper, $9.95. ISBN 0-919890-83-0. CIP

Adult /Secondary
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

The sixty poems in this collection had their origin, Coles tells us, in his reading of the journals and letters of Franz Kafka. Drawing in some cases on a line or image in the originals, Coles fashions touching love poems that also give the reader a sense of Kafka himself in the period before his untimely death.

The poems are very short (often only four or five lines and never more than twelve), deceptively simple, and often have a flash of wry humour:

It's so lonely here
Without you. I try
To write cheerfully and
Every word on the page
Bursts into tears.

Kafka's love is always struggling with a dreadful sense of loneliness, seeking comfort in images, both in memory and in photographs:

when I have to go anywhere
I take your picture with me
And lay it on the table
Beside me.

This collection will appeal to older teenagers for leisure reading and to those experimenting with writing poetry. It will also be popular in public libraries, especially where patrons read Kafka.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew, Ont.
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