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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Reader's Diary #93- Enos Watts: Spaces Between The Trees (FINISHED)



Call this my Coles Notes of Enos Watts. There are so many poems here that are worthy of commentary, but I don't want to ramble on forever (nor do I think anyone out there wants me to). So a few brief thoughts on a few poems:
"Doing Time": A poem that begins, "On one of those self-pitying days" and goes on to capture that feeling with brilliant word choices; sunk, slumber, brick, mortar, clapboard, etc.
"Bare Trees and Freezing Rain": A rare glimpse into Watts' clever use of rhyme. Basically describing a relationship of sorts between trees and the weather, the rhymes (ex. play, sway, spray, day) and masculine rhymes (ex. splendour, vascular, and grandeur) echo the presence of a relationship and add a little whimsy to nature.
"Margaret Laurence's Manawaka": Not so much a comment about the poem itself, except to say that I love how Laurence's fictional town has taken on such a life of it's own. It might sound a little like stoner talk but hasn't it become real in some bizarre sense?
"A Different Shore": A beautifully written poem, with a fantastic storyline and ending. Some of the more narrative poems in this collection I wasn't fussy on, but this one I really liked- especially the lesson learned by the daughter at the end. Epiphanies aren't just for haikus.
"Stormy Night on Terra Nova Road": Occasionally I was slightly turned off by the more philosophical poems in this collection, but fortunately those were in the minority. Watts' real strength, as I've said before is imagery, especially with nature imagery (as the book's title would suggest). "Stormy Night on Terra Nova Road" is one of the best examples of his uncanny ability to somehow paint an event and a scene at the same time (and no, they're not synonymous). Watts relies heavily on a multisensory appeal, ex. "tires hissing", lights glow ghostly", "bone soaked" and it pays off for the reader, who in this particular poem finds themselves alongside a woman in nasty October weather, trying to make it home.
These are great poems.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

My sister and her family live in Neepawa, the actual town where Margaret Laurence grew up. There are a lot of elements of Neepawa in Manawaka, as you can imagine. I love recognizing real places in fictional settings.