With Issa: Poems 1964-1971

Description

124 pages
$12.00
ISBN 1-55022-146-9
DDC C811'.54

Author

Publisher

Year

1991

Contributor

Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is an English professor at Laurentian University.

Review

Many terms could accurately be applied to Ball’s writing: slight,
quiet, minimalist perhaps. The so-called poems’ brevity is not in
itself a fault, but their tendency to be wordy yet vacant even within
their usual compass of five or six lines certainly is. “Spring” is
typical; here it is in its entirety: “Spring does / as the verb
describes // little shoots / of plant life // springing up / all around
us.” If that effort is childish, at least it’s not as pompous as
many of the other “poems” here. “A Present”: “A present ‘to
write poems’ / a new pad of lined paper. // The lines run to the edge
of the page / and wait there for me // to make them / encircle the
world.” Why this book was published is a mystery. Its only remarkable
feature is that on its back cover, among some glowing comments
(presumably by friends) appears the following accurate characterization
by Eugene MacNamara: “How can this nonsense be dignified with such
terms as ‘language revolution’? Or ‘concrete’ or whatever? It
isn’t writing. It’s typing. It’s crap.”

Citation

Ball, Nelson., “With Issa: Poems 1964-1971,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/11890.