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Toronto, Anansi, c1984. 262pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88784-138-4. (House of Anansi Poetry series #44).

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Warner Winter

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

Canadian Poetry Now focuses on the more accomplished and successful poets of the eighties who, according to editor Ken Norris, have completed their "apprenticeships" and are just now coming into their own. My first complaint is a common one for anthology critics. I was annoyed at the omission of many good young poets who, I presume, either arrived too early to make this volume or who are insufficiently accomplished. And, even though this book promises to present "the next wave" of Canadian poetry, there are few unifying facts (beyond the youthfulness of the contributors) to characterize it as distinctly different from "other waves," unless one considers interest in craft, feminism, regionalism and multi-culturalism as expressed poetically as being unique to the eighties.

Norris's anthology presents the poets alphabetically with some rather skimpy notes about them at the end. (The bibliographies are useful.) While some poets are obscure (Christopher Dewdney and Artie Gold with their linguistic experiments will have limited appeal, I fear), others are quite appealing. Marie di Michaeli and Pier Georgio Di Cicco, two Italian Canadians, are noteworthy in this regard, particularly the latter for his humour and sense of irony. Taken as a whole the anthology lacks the pizzazz we expect from a book of very new poetry, but it is still worth putting into a school library (unless the occasional four-letter word causes fear).

Warner Winter, Emery C.I., North York, Ont.
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