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Banks, Kenneth.

Pictou Island (NJS.), Lushino Press, c1985. 50pp, paper, $6.00, ISBN 0-9691351-1-4. Distributed by Lushino Press, Pictou Island, Pfctou County, N.S., B0K 1J0. CIP

Grade 12 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

Most of the fifty sonnets in this sequence, based on themes of birth and regeneration in the first part, and death and transfiguration in the second, are published here for the first time, although a few have previously appeared in The Antigonish Review. Banks seems often to be struggling with the restrictions of the form, and resorts to rhyming such uneasy pairs as "bailiff and "scared stiff." At times, alliteration runs riot:

Where ruined flowers fled, she sees
the flaring nostrils, fluid mane
arch still into the stark inane
the lineage of her remorse

and sometimes combines with assonance to produce lines like "this first hushed cymballed surfeiting/of breeze-brushed leaves." A number of words recur with surprising frequency; "veil," "lament," "requiem," "azure," "thrall," "flame," to cite a few. Cliches, like "song's priceless lore," "sweet asylum," and "souring epic," are not uncommon.

Although the book is handsomely produced, there are a number of annoying errors in spelling. At twenty-eight, Banks renounced his life in Toronto, and has lived as a fisherman in Nova Scotia for ten years; one suspects he could renounce all the poetic artificiality of Persephone and rely on the talent evident here in "Sand Castles."

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