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David Manicom
Lantzville (B.C.), Oolichan Books, 1991. 90pp, paper, $10.95
ISBN 0-88982-109-7. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by Bob Lincoln.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

David Manicom has published poetry in a number of Canadian maga­zines since his appearance in Quarry in 1984. His short story "Daughters" appeared in Event in the summer of 1988, and his first collection of poetry, Sense of Season (Porcepic Books, 1988), appeared that same year.

Manicom has now published his second book, revising some of these poems. Theology is arranged in three sections: "Theology of Swallows", "Parts for the Marathon" and "Broken Homes."

The second section is historical, and is taken in part from the journal of Robert Hood, a painter and midship­man on one of the Franklin expeditions. The poems, while engaging, often lack immediacy and surprise; they are more like exercises.

The poetry overall is welcome; the poems stand up to close reading and analysis. They avoid sentimentality. The writing is clear and direct and is suffused with Manicom's unique description and interpretation of events. His tone is off hand, almost casual, but the carefully chosen words and phras­ing contradict this assumption.

In the closing section, "Broken Homes," Manicom brings the reader closer to his heart. The impact is stronger. There is less attempt at myth making or literary allusiveness. In poems like "First Milking" or "Spilled Banks" the focus is on the farm and those who lived and died on it. These are lyrical but fantastic landscapes, created with passion and grace. As in his earlier book, there is the process of experience, analysis and synthesis that works through clearly in each poem. Claude Jutra is the subject of "The Director with Alzheimer's Goes Miss­ing," and in this poem Manicom's writing rises above eulogy to focus on the creative joy of Jutra's productions, and art itself.

Bob Lincoln, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man.
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