CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Brewster, Elizabeth.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1988. 88pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-709-3 (cloth) $19.95. 0-88750-710-7 (paper) $9.95.

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by danalee Molton-Barrett

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

Entertaining Angels by poet Elizabeth Brewster is a contemplative trip into an autobiographical and literary past. Brewster is feeling her age and it's time to settle accounts—say what needs to be said or has remained unsaid for too long. This makes the poems about which she feels most deeply—those about family, friends and herself—the strongest poems in her collection. Especially strong are the sections about her cancer-ridden sister in the long poem "Entertaining Angels: A Summer Journal":

I will not now say
I love my sister
more than I love my friends.

Still, having said this—
I know
we're branches from the same tree,
rooted in the same past, twisted, maybe
by the same early winds chilling.

When you are wounded, I bleed.

This is Elizabeth Brewster in top form—terse, controlled, passionate. The intensity is palpable. There are times, however, when Brewster slackens the reins on her backward-travelling mount and the poetry becomes flaccid and wandering. These poems disappoint because Brewster, throughout most of her collection, makes it crystal clear just how accomplished a poet she is and just how richly satisfying accomplished poetry can be.

danalee Molton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
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