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Barbara Carey

Kingston (Ont.), Quarry Press, 1989. 90pp, paper, $10.95
ISBN 0-919267-53-6. CIP

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

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

This collection of forty-seven poems is divided into three parts. In the first part, called "the daily surface," Carey deals with the myriad uneventful activities that are the reality of everyday life: memories of her father freezing a skating rink in the back yard, her mother baking cookies, a quarrel with a friend, men at work on a road, shoppers in a supermarket, and so forth.

The second group, called "human scale," is more abstract. Central to each poem is a part of the human body, and these are the springboard for an introspective look at the often intangible complexities of personal interaction:

I'm tired of how a wrist looks
against a sleeve
when I can't touch either

your fingers, mine
the brittle arch
where words are
lost between the breast
& the throat, confused

The last group is called "returning to the world." There is much sadness here. Carey writes of the human tragedy of earthquakes, air disasters, a ravaged environment, oil spills, war, and the individual calamities that make headlines.

Many of these poems appeared earlier in various Canadian literary magazines. Carey's work bears very thoughtful reading. Her style is highly polished and erudite. Her writing seems almost three-dimensional, so meticulously does she craft the language, akin to the way a master woodcarver creates the illusion of a living creature. Her imagery is always fresh and wonderfully imaginative.

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