Impromptu Feats of Balance


80 pages
ISBN 0-919897-18-5
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by William Blackburn

William Blackburn is a professor of English at the University of


In this, his latest collection of poems, Redhill—author of Music for
Silence and winner of the League of Canadian Poets first national poetry
contest (in 1988)—has a good ear and a keen eye. Whatever his
ostensible subject—a loon, a beef tongue, or a family gathering—his
dominant concerns impart an impressive thematic unity to his work. He
writes of love, and loss—“everyone I know / is
dissolving”—without once sinking into pretentiousness or
mawkishness. He makes credible the traditional burden of the artist, to
make us see something of the life that slips always from us: “Now that
language is gone, people / do not die, but disintegrate.” With grace
and discipline and courage, he shows us the world our muteness has made,
a world in which “our tongues / should fall off with disavowals, but
don’t are / sewn down in our mouths / attractive, fashionable / and
nice.” He is a quietly and deftly disturbing poet—one whom the
Thought Police—and the thoughtful reader—should watch carefully.


Redhill, Michael., “Impromptu Feats of Balance,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 15, 2024,