Monday, March 21, 2011

Page's Kaleidoscope

Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill Press, c2011.
256 p.

Talking about this wonderful collection is a perfect fit for World Poetry Day. It's an enormous compilation, arranged chronologically, of some of P.K. Page's most known poetry. And it is amazing, all 256 pages of it.

This is, according to the publisher's website, a companion to a 10 year project for an online collection which will be more academic, taking advantage of the capabilities of a digital site. This is a 'reading copy' so to speak, and if you are so inclined you can learn more as the online site grows and is filled in with more and more academic content over the next decade.

From the earliest poem to the latest, this collection shows the mastery that Page had from the beginning. Her poetry is often formal, following structural rules, and yet is always fresh and exploring new thoughts and images.

Page was also a painter, and this sense of the visual appears in her poetry. Sometimes painting appears literally, as the subject of a poem as well. But I believe there is something in this collection to catch any reader. I was almost overwhelmed with a sense of beauty and skill as I couldn't stop reading...I love this book. A few of my old favourites appear: Evening Dance of the Grey Flies, Planet Earth, The Blue Guitar (a glosa). But there is so much that I didn't know in this book, and it will be one that I keep by the bedside to dip into repeatedly. I've read and talked about some of her previous poetry, specifically Coal & Roses, a collection of glosas. And she presented her poetry often, as a respected and prizewinning author; see her reading Planet Earth at the Griffin Poetry Prize event.

If you are interested in seeing the developments in the long career of an exemplary poet this book is a gem. If you want to celebrate World Poetry Day by enjoying the products of a fertile, original mind, again, this book is for you. As Page is a wonderful Canadian poet who needs to be even more widely read, this collection of her work is something I will be recommending for all poetry lovers for a long time to come.

Thanks, Porcupine's Quill, for offering me a copy of this book that continues to awaken my eyes and ears to the world around me!


  1. Hi, thanks for the positive review of Kaleidoscope. It's one of my favourite books.

    Caleigh the intern at Porcupine's Quill

  2. Caleigh - it really is a treasure. One I know I'll be dipping into again and again.

  3. I heard a snippet of an older interview with her and Shelagh Rogers on an episode of The Next Chapter and was reminded that I need to collect some of her work. Wonderful.

  4. Buried in Print - I forget that archived interviews are still available...will have to look that one up. This book is fabulous.


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