Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Shaping a World Already Made: Landscape and Poetry of the Canadian Prairies

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Shaping a World Already Made: Landscape and Poetry of the Canadian Prairies

Article excerpt

Carl J. Tracie, Shaping a World Already Made: Landscape and Poetry of the Canadian Prairies (Regina, SK: University of Regina Press, 2016), 220 pp. Paper. $27.95. ISBN 978-0-88977-393-6.

The title of this volume reflects the fact that the prairies represent the Canadian ecological region which has been most transformed from its natural state, through agriculture and other uses. Additionally, it is a region where the economy is open to the vagaries of unpredictable climatic impacts and uncertain world trading conditions, and there are also concerns for the welfare of a very significant Aboriginal population. The author's aim is to discuss the inspirations - complex, paradoxical, mystical - and responses of nine present-day prairie poets in this changed and changing environment. The poets are Di Brandt (southern Manitoba), Dennis Cooley (Estevan), Lorna Crozier (southern Saskatchewan), Patrick Friesen (southern Manitoba), Tim Lilburn (Regina and Saskatoon), Eli Mandel (Estevan, Regina and Montreal), John Newlove (Kamsack), Andrew Suknaski (Wood Mountain), and Jan Zwicky (southern Parkland).

In a two-page foreword, the poet Dennis Cooley distinguishes between the fear and aggression displayed by male-settler and 'invader' poets, and the more reciprocal relationships with the land displayed by Aboriginal and female poets. Then follows a ten-page introduction by the historical geographer John Warkentin, who discusses how creative artists can provide insights into our perception and imaginings of the geographer's natural and cultural regions. …

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