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THE WAY TO COME HOME

Smart, Carolyn
London (Ont.), Brick Books, 1992. 77pp, paper, $10.95, ISBN 0-919626-56-4. CIP


Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October


Smart introduces this collection with a brief translation from Basho, and her poetry is like his in transforming the simplest of things into a kind of magic:

Listen now to the pond's heartbeat,
the shrill monotone of spring peepers
calling goodnight and goodnight
over and over, to everything
that is beginning, or is no more

Twenty-one poems grouped under the heading "Cape of Storms" evoke the beauty of South Africa and admit the shame of apartheid:

I have traveled half way round
this world to sit
with the owners and drink their cool beer by the pool...

The five poems in "The Sound of the Birds" are a powerful tribute to the memory of Bronwen Wallace, recalling unflinchingly the pain of her last weeks and days, and still suffused with a hard-won acceptance. "Home: A Calendar" has a poem for each month, a project that many beginning poets would like to undertake.

Recommended as a useful addition to the Canadian poetry resources in any high school library. The cover, with a beautiful fall photograph, will attract browsers in the literature section. There is excellent material on themes such as death, racism and the family and people who read poetry for pleasure will become fans of Carolyn Smart.


Pat Bolger is a retired high school librarian in Renfrew, Ontario

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