CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Newlove, John.

Toronto, ECW Press. c1986. 78pp, paper. ISBN 0-920763-33-2 (cloth) $18.00. 0-920763-31-6 (paper) $9.00. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Warner Winter

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

John Newlove continues to be one of Canada's more important poets. In reading The Night the Dog Smiled, I was reminded of Keats's famous and problematical dictum, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" and how Newlove conies down so strongly on both sides of the equation. And like Keats, Newlove is, "not interested in rainbows/but in the sky itself, the serene/not the spectacular: the permanent." In his search for truth (and salvation) he moves through a wide range of emotions, including more humour in this volume than in previous ones.

The poems are carefully crafted. Newlove uses diction with much control and moves from clipped, short poems to flowing longer ones, like the serial poem, "Whit Philharmonic Novels," which, like music, picks up earlier lines from the text and reworks them. Nature and the universe are still destructive and threatening and in their portrayal Newlove's insights seem very Canadian. He concludes with a very disturbing prose poem about a baby being sliced (ugh) into "thin sheets." The Night the Dog Smiled is certainly recommended for all lovers of good poetry.

Warner Winter, Emery C.I., Toronto, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works