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Intimate and sweeping at once… A memorable collection.

Gutteridge delivers an elegant and reflective collection shaped by mist and nostalgia and rendered with precise imagery in his latest poetry book. Gutteridge’s gifts as a poet shine through as he talks about his desire to write something worth remembering in the title poem “ROOTED: ”I have such a need to compose/ a poem that will sing to the centuries,/ one that is rooted true/ in the hallowed ground of hearth/ and home, and I would travail/ the Seven Seas, trawling/ for truths to feed its fury,/ until my blood aborts/ or my bones bleed, and when/ my muse no longer endues/ and after all is said/ and done, I’ll put down/ my pen, pose for the loges,/ and see how it goes.” In “REQUIEM,” he remembers the ones who are long gone, including his grandparents, parents, extended family, friends, his wife of fifty-seven years, and his beloved grandson who died in his thirties: “I’ve said goodbye too many/ times in the long years/ allotted me by a merciful/ God, and their faces haunt/ my dreams and invade my days.” The poems (“ELABORATORY ALIVE,” “CHINTZED,” “DERVISH,” “ON THE ROAD AGAIN,” “BOX CARS,” “TETHERED”) written in memories of loved ones long-gone impart the collection a melancholic touch. There are also lighthearted entries that are at once incisive, sharp, and playful (“HALOES,” “HOPES”). Some of the poems talk about the lusts, passions, and desires of boyhood (“DIZZIED,” TINGLE,” SUMMERTIME STROLL,” “BANJO,” “OGLE”) while others reflect on romantic entanglements of youth (“SEASONOL”). There is appreciation of literature, especially poetry (“ON LOOKING AGAIN AT KEATS’S ODES,” “SLANT,” “ODES”), a look at fond memories of boyhood (“THIS PHOTO,” “HURDY GURDY,” “TROTTER”), and simple nostalgia (“A Valentine,” “SERENE”) as well. The collection cements Gutteridge’s reputation as a deeply original voice in Canadian Poetry. Readers aching for poetry of intimacy and reminiscence will immediately embrace this poignant book.


Don Gutteridge

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