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Vancouver, Press Gang Publishers, 1988. 120pp, paper, $930
ISBN 0-88974-015-1. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

Chrystos is a powerhouse. Her poetry is angry, passionate, gentle and thoughtful. Not Vanishing is a vibrant collection of images and ideas, legend and history that leaves the reader simultaneously exhausted and exhila­rated, defeated and inspired.

A native American lesbian, Chrystos knows first hand what it's like to be omitted from a culture. But Chrystos is a fighter and she effectively wages battle in her poetry:

They have our bundles split open in
our dresses shirts at auctions
our languages on tape
our stories in locked rare book libraries
our dances on film
The only part of us they can't steal
is what we know

What is perhaps most amazing - and riveting - about Chrystos' poetry is that she lets us into her world at all. And she does so with an openness and honesty that is in itself pure poetry.

If you ever
again tell me
how strong I am
I'll lay down on the ground & moan
so you'll see
at last my human weakness like
your own
I'm not strong I'm scraped
I'm blessed with life while so many
I've known are dead
I have work to do dishes to wash
a house to clean
There is no magic

Ahhh, but there is magic - in each and every line of Chrystos' poetry.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
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