________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 15 . . . . March 28, 1997

cover White Linen Remembered.

Marya Fiamengo.
Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press, 1996. 80 pp., paper, $11.95.
ISBN 0-921870-41-8.

Review by Deborah Mervold.



He stands absorbed
      an abstract in a line
     of trees.
Intent on the lake
     he sketches.

Committed citizen
     of the imagination
     comely as courtesy.
Poised in the politesse of old
Partial to soft declensions
     slow desuetudes.

Watch as he leans
in the crook of the
Practised to rescue
the fading afternoon
     from anonymity.

White Linen Remembered, Fiamengo's seventh book of poetry, combines a description which speaks to the memories and the soul of the reader as well as a depth which is evident even if not fully understood. The collection is divided into seven numbered sections with each section containing three to six poems. Many poems are prefaced by a quotation or a brief dedication to someone or some place in the poet's recollection. This technique, which adds a very personal note to the collection, enables readers to glimpse the past, view the present, anticipate the future and eavesdrop on the thoughts of the poet.

      The writing's literary quality is inspiring and thought-provoking. There is a richness in language, particularly in the use of adjectives. A definite form and structure adds to the almost prose phrasing in the poetry. For example, White Linen Remembered, opens with the following seven lines:

If all manner of things
are to be well,
are to be well remembered,
as flowers are codes, birds
alphabets to existence

then childhood
is white linen. White linen
cross-stitched with crimson....

I enjoyed the strength of metaphors and repetition of words and phrases. The references to mythology and history added to the collection's universality.

      Raised and educated in British Columbia, Fiamengo is the daughter of Yugoslavian parents. Now retired and living in West Vancouver, Fiamengo taught literature at the University of British Columbia. Her poetry had been included in many anthologies, including most recently, Words We Call Home and Inside the Poem. As well as being an excellent addition for personal libraries, this poetry collection would be suitable for senior high, public and university libraries.


Deborah Mervold is a teacher/librarian in a grade 6 to 12 school and a grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School.

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

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364