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Sheila Martindale

Goderich (Ont.), Moonstone Press, 1989. 68pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-920259-24-3. (Poets of Southwestern Ontario series #1). CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Maryleah Otto.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

No Greater Love is a collection of thirty-two poems divided into three groups. The first group, called "Voices," was presented as part of the Holy Week celebrations at St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in London, Ontario, on Palm Sunday, 1989. Each "voice" belongs to an individual who was closely associated with Jesus at the time of the Crucifixion and Resur­rection and each speaker reflects on the circumstances leading to Jesus' death ac­cording to his or her personal view­point. There is a wonderful immediacy in these poems that closes the 2000-year-old gap between then and now, bring­ing the tragic humanity and the mysteri­ous spirituality of those events into a sympathetic, contemporary focus.

The second group, "Reflections," deals with themes from the Old and New Testaments, and once again Martindale weaves ancient threads into a modern-day fabric, uniting age-old mysteries with today's commonplaces so as to underscore the relevance of the stories. The last group, "Letters," concerns the human condition: mar­riage, childhood, death, war, nature and animals are some of the topics.

The style in the first section, "Voices," is that of lyric prose-poetry Grafted into highly introspective solilo­quies. In the other two sections the poet displays greater technical variety and uses imagery effectively. None of the poems suffers from a lack of clarity or readability. The author's own voice is one of immense sympathy for human­kind and for our haunting suspicion that sometime, somewhere, somehow we are Heaven-connected.

Sheila Martindale is well known across Canada in many aspects of literary work. No Greater Love will be appreciated by teachers of English from grade 10 up as well as by the general public.

Maryleah Otto, St. Thomas Public Library, St. Thomas, Ont.
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