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Souster, Raymond.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1984. 314pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-516-3 (cloth) $27.95, 0-88750-517-1 (paper) $14.95.

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Souster planned Collected Poems 1940-1980 as a four-volume series and has added this volume to cover 1977-83, reprinting Hanging in (1979) and Going the Distance (1983). (A sixth volume, due to appear shortly, contains a complete bibliography of Souster's prose and poetry.) This is a marvellous collection, numbering almost two hundred and fifty poems, that reveals a writer miraculously in touch - with his youth, with his war (and is father's war), with his friends, and fellow poets, and even with the urban crazies and other outcasts. Souster's passions for jazz and baseball are evident in poems like "Errol Garner Arrives in Heaven" and "Wild Pitch," and there are a number of engaging cat poems, including "Old Cat, New Bed." Souster seems very much at ease with a short haiku-like form: "Squeak like that again tomorrow night/and I'll hunt you down-,/flood every moving part/with a monster squirt of 3-in-one." Two long narrative poems, dealing with the killing of Heydrich in Prague and Stauffenberg's attempted assassination of Hitler, would appeal especially to students of modern history. The book is handsomely produced and has an alphabetic index of titles, as well as table of contents, (almost a necessity with such a large collection.) Although its size may frighten off the casual browser, this collection will be well used by senior students of Canadian literature. Highest recommendation.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew C.I., Renfrew, Ont.
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