________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 11 . . . . February 2, 2001

cover Coming Home From Home.

Bruce Hunter.
Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 2000.
78 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 1-894345-11-8.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Terry Vatrt.

*** /4

Bruce Hunter is a widely published author and teacher. Coming Home from Home is his third book of poetry. In 1996, Thistledown Press also published his collection of linked stories, Country Music Country.

      The thirty-seven poems in this collection deal with the notion, in one form or another, of "home." Hunter was born in Calgary to a family that traces its ancestry from Scotland to the ranchlands of the foothills of southern Alberta. The settings of his poems speak of the many homes he has known, including his current home in Toronto.

      The tone of the poems range from humourous ("Bride of Bay" p. 45) to deeply disturbing ("When Love was a Fist" p. 18). There is nothing sentimental about Hunter's examination of "home." Educators will find the poems "What My Students Teach Me" (p. 48) and "What I Know about Gerald" (p. 51) particularly moving.

      I highly recommend this book. Hunter is a very good writer. The subject matter of most of the poems makes them accessible to senior high students. (A few of the poems contain language and/or subject matter not suitable to the classroom.) "Seasons of the city" (p. 39) is a good poem to read aloud and could be used as a springboard to students' own writing.

      This collection could be the starting point (or a valuable addition) to a unit of study surrounding the theme of "home." The last poem of the book,"Coming Home from Home" (p.76), provides fertile material for discussions and extended writing exercises. For example, what does Hunter mean when he says that "a home is a dubious name for what the heart can't have" (p. 77) and "everywhere is home when home is nowhere near anywhere anymore?" (p. 78)?

      Coming Home from Home provides a wealth of material to be read aloud, and enjoyed.

Highly Recommended.

Terry Vatrt is on the Board of Directors for the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. The theme of this year's festival was "Bringing Words Home."

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364