________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 15 . . . . March 30, 2001

cover Vintage 2000.

Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press, 2000.
128 pp., pbk., $13.95.
ISBN 0-921870-75-2.

Subject Heading:
Canadian poetry (English)-20th century.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Val Nielsen.

**** /4

Each year, with the aim of encouraging poetic talent across the country, the League of Canadian Poets sponsors the prestigious National Poetry Competition and the Youth Poetry Competition. The former offers all Canadians a chance to discover their ability. From thousands of entries received, a panel of six well-known poets selects 50 winning poems for publication in the anthology. First, second and third place winners are chosen from this group, and the authors awarded cash prizes. Anne Campbell writes in her introduction to this section of the anthology that, for her, the work of poetry is to use language so well "...it animates and liberates from the dark our very being." Sue MacLeod's poem, "Especially for a woman, reading," which took second place, Stephen Brockwell's "Hands of the Father" and Russell Thornton's "Your Keys" are only a small sampling of the many gems in this volume which exemplify Campbell's notion of the work of poetry.

      The Canadian Youth Poetry Competition consists of two categories: a senior division for students in grades 10 to 12, and a junior division for students in grades 7 to 9. Cash prizes are given to the writers of the top three poems in each category. These are published in the anthology along with several honorable mention winners. Only six poems were chosen for the senior division, the three top prize winners and three poems which won honorable mention. According to the two judges, these six poems "...are in general more completed, more unusual and more vital than the vast majority of the 1500 poems we read. Outstanding in both insight and playfulness is Sharon Page's first-prize winning poem, 'Water Buffalo + Emily = Love,' while Sascha Brunig's pointed and poignant 'Family Reunion' has echoes of 'A Child's Christmas in Wales'."

      There are ten poems published in the section devoted to the junior division of the National Poetry Competition. Interestingly, nine are by girls, and the only one written by a boy was awarded first prize. Michael Coren's small poem, actually in the form of haiku, entitled "The Graveyard," is one which speaks equally powerfully to adults and young people.

      Reading fine student-authored poetry is one of the best ways to inspire young people to write their own poems, or, for those already turned on to this form of expression, to refine their craft. Readers will find the section entitled "Notes on the Authors" found at the end of Vintage 2000, both interesting and useful. The collection will be welcomed by teachers of Language Arts and English who are always on the lookout for poems of originality and vitality on themes important to their students.

Highly Recommended.

Valerie Nielsen is a retired teacher-librarian who lives in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364