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E.J. Pratt
Edited by Sandra Djwa and R.G. Moyles

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1989. 413pp and 504pp, respectively, cloth, $75.00
ISBN 0-8020-5775-6. CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up
Reviewed by Ian Dempsey.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

This two-volume collection of E.J. Pratt's poems comes twenty-five years after his death at a time when most of his books of poems are no longer in print. This is the only complete collection of his poetry available now. Seventy-five dollars may seem like a black-market price to a school library to ensure that students have something tangible to hold on to of this Canadian superstar; however, this compilation will allow students to get to know EJ. Pratt in the way that a poet should be known -- not by reading about him -- but by being with his soul through forty-five years of his life.

There are poems of those years: "The Titanic," "The Depression Ends," "Dunkirk." There are poems set far back and away: "Brebeuf and His Brethren," "The Great Feud." And then there are the small, timeless pieces that many of us "learned" in school: "Erosion," "The Shark," "The Prize Cat." Underneath and flowing all around from Pratt's native Newfoundland is the sea.

Nearly half of the second volume is material for the scholar-textual variants, three appendices containing miscellaneous and unpublished material, and a lengthy descriptive bibliography. Some serious senior students may delve into this. There is also a section of annotations on the poems. A minor aid not provided is a running title for the long poems that go on for many pages.

Recommended as a genuine Canadian experience.

Ian Dempsey, Cambridge, Ont.
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