canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

Controlled Burn
by Maury Wrubleski
Thistledown Press Ltd., 1999

Review by Joanna M. Weston

Wrubleski is a prairie poet: his staccato style of writing is like listening to sudden hail drumming on the roof, lines such as 'Day coughs diesel spits carburation binds hoses together with baler twine trips to town ...' force the reader's attention as he focuses on details of a man's world on the prairies, making them vivid and immediate. He is hunter, horseman, jazzman, and is able to make poetry of events that open his life to our viewing in such a way that his experience becomes ours.

The first poems, about horses, are intensely evocative - one can almost smell the horse, feel its strength and power, and are caught up in the disturbing end of each poem. In 'Del T. and the Age of Jazz' we hear 'Thundering marathons of arena rock anthems' and are drawn into the music and the occasion. He gives us the hunter's keen observation of bird-life in 'Coot' and 'Blue Heron'. He conjures the prairie landscape more often by implication than direct statement, but there are sudden glimpses as in 'blue on grey-blue over the prairie, where the sun spots some leverage/ and cranks the cumulus...'.

Wrubleski's elliptic use of language, omission of articles and conjunctions, gives a cutting edge to his poetry which, added to the pulsating rhythms of his work , create a clarity to the inner life that he portrays. Controlled Burn is a book to have by the bedside and browze through over and over again.

JOANNA M. WESTON: born in England; married to an accountant, Robert; 3 sons, one daughter-in-law, 3 grandchildren, two cats; has a green thumb and an enlarging garden. M.A. from the University of British Columbia; appears in several anthologies; published in Canada, U.S.A., U.K. etc. for the past 15 years in magazines such as CANADIAN WOMAN STUDIES, CHIRON REVIEW, DANDELION, ENDLESS MOUNTAIN REVIEW, SPIN, WRITER’S OWN MAGAZINE, GREEN’S MAGAZINE, etc.; reviews poetry. chapbooks: ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES, 1987; CUERNAVACA DIARY, 1990; SEASONS, 1993; ALL SEASONS, 1996 (2nd edition 1997).







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