COUNTING THE HOURS: CITY POEMS
Volume 12 Number 1
The first portion of this collection is composed of anecdotal poems on social conditions in Detroit. Using his position as a commuter teacher at Detroit State University, Tom Wayman treats a range of considerations from marking papers to touring art galleries to racism, murder, and suicide.
Wayman then turns to more personal concerns. He watches his house being demolished by a tractor, touches on the break-up of his marriage, floats to an account of his experiences as a radio interviewer, always in the same easy, effortless voice.
A third major division combines the focus of the first two. The city is now Vancouver, "my city." A study of two lovers and a jazz musician is the finest example of close observation in the book.. A study of a Bob Dylan concert has similar strength and is interesting in its own right as an autobiographical record. Wayman first came to the public's attention as a hippy poet. He is now a comfortably mainstream prosaic social journalist. He thinks of the new Dylan and his audience just what we might expect him to think. But it is comforting to hear him say it so directly.
It is a short leap from Vancouver into the West Coast woods where we catch glimpses of loggers and fishermen and a memorable washerwoman within a clear landscape before trailing into some loose poems on social generalizations that did not fit the volume's geographical format.
In summary, Wayman still comes across as a decent fellow. He is still an unpretentious teller of truths. He still cares about human beings—masses in general and friends close at hand. He can touch on various contemporary modes and still sound like Wayman. Some of these poems will make excellent studies for the high school classroom—the California Avenue, Gavin Walker, and Bob Dylan poems in particular. The anthologists are liable to miss these: teachers may want to find a copy of Counting the Hours and check for themselves.
Tony Cosier, Confederation H. S., Nepean, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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