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Susan Glickman

Montreal, Vehicule Press, 1990. 88pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 1-55065-004-1. CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up
Reviewed by Ian Dempsey.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

The centre section of the book, "Driving Home," is forty-seven pages of Glickman's world - driving home the universal reality of family, home and love. The poems here are a trip from her own beginnings, out of the womb of one family to the creation of a new family of her own making. Along the way, she passes by parents ("it is only parents who believe anyone can be protected"), brother and sister, grand­parents, and dangerous strange men. It's the encounters with males that both bruise and strengthen her: there's her grandfather, the patriarch (girls don't go to college); her father, always out of focus; a neighbour man who molests her; her brother, the favoured one. In the pivotal poem, "Families," she leaps from her mother's protection and swims away

very fast from that house
to this one, into a new family. Eyes
wide open,
but under water.

The poems that follow are hymns of love and praise and hope in her new family. In the midst of the swimmer's rapture, there is the need to push away from the man in her life and touch bottom:

I hate you sometimes, sometimes
I need this dark:
leave me

But then she comes up to light and air.

This central reality - her life im­mersed in family - is bordered by two sections, "Henry Moore's Sheep" and "Camera Obscura." Her poems here explore the male domains of art and science. She looks with compassion at a male artist's look at woman and mother, and peers with love and understanding at male scientists peering into light, searching for reality. In both cases, she is able to swim alongside them, a mermaid guiding bewildered sailors.

Ian Dempsey, Cambridge, Ont.
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