Weathers

By Murphy, Kevin | British Journal of Canadian Studies, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Weathers


Murphy, Kevin, British Journal of Canadian Studies


Douglas Lochhead, Weathers, ed. by David Creelman (Goose Lane Editions 2002), 200pp. paper, $24.95. ISBN 0-8649-2344-9.

Weathers contains Douglas Lochhead's new and selected poems from the last fifteen years, a relatively brief stretch of this poet's career of more than fifty years. David Creelman collaborated in the selection and his introduction notes that critics have found Lochhead's poetry to be 'minimalist', 'sparse' and 'concentrated'.

The poems are rooted in the history and geography of the land and are marked by their concerns with nature, faith, grief and love. They celebrate very particular named locations and individual people.

Formally, Lochhead is recognised as a poet of lyric compression, and several extended lyric sequences are used. However, there is a variety of verse form (much use of regular stanzas but little rhyme) and sometimes lyric gives way to prose-poetry such as 'Gatineau Revisited' in which past and present are reflected on in longer lines.

In the poem, 'Everything is', nodding to William Carlos Williams, Lochhead states, 'everything is poetry' which might help explain why his diction is generally understated and unshowy, and many of the poems are couched in a natural, spoken register. At best, the result is poetry that is personal and direct, as in the love poem, 'More often than you': 'For months / leading to years / I counted you / my love / not saying much / because quite frankly / I am not much / good at it. …

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