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Yet at a Distance---Father Poems from the Maritimes




Yet at a Distance---Father Poems from the Maritimes
This anthology, launching on January 25 at Local Jo Cafe, opens with the parable of the prodigal son. Gary Burrill, the collection's editor writes an opaque foreword about why "father poems" proliferate in the Maritimes. Attaching a regional basis is debatable. The biblical passage suggests all sons are prodigal, set to return one day---in thought or memory, if not physically---to their fathers. These are fathers and grandfathers remembered by poets, sons (and one daughter, though the reason for her inclusion is unclear), after many, many years or in the immediate wake of their deaths.

Brian Bartlett's "Crescent on Phelps Mountain" stands out for its sense of action---the poet carrying a memory with him and interacting with it---talking with it. And Harry Thurston's contributions, particularly "Professor out of Work," achieve the most, with the least language and image.

Too often the father figure appears as the man of few words, the labourer (carpenter is especially popular), soldier and so on. The traditional father stands tall here. Sons are frequently reverent, wary of their fathers. The relationship is more complex than suggested here and surely there are writers who could've demonstrated this.
Sean Flinn
type: book

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