The Love Poems


185 pages
ISBN 1-55096-088-1
DDC C811'.54





Illustrations by Claire Weissman Wilks
Reviewed by Chris Knight

Chris Knight is a copy editor at Canadian Press.


If the thought of an entire volume of love poetry seems fit only for
dewy-eyed high-school students dreaming of the perfect date, think
again. The author of this book presents us with a rich and varied view
of that most powerful emotion, and yet there is a cohesion in his
writing that makes it clear there is one heart behind it all.

Montague writes of the joys, terrors, beginnings and ends of marriage,
as well as more casual relationships, adultery, meeting and parting. But
he strikes the most ringing chords in the many poems that deal simply
with love in a pure emotive form, quite free of the need for everyday
labels. And while he does not shy away from the physical and sexual
components of love, they are placed in a context of being the cause of
feelings as well as being caused by feelings. Lyrical and moving, the
only problem with this collection is that it is sometimes too calm, even
when it depicts some of the more violent or disruptive effects of love.
The poems are descriptive, but on occasion the soft language dulls an
otherwise razor-sharp message.

Still, for the most part Montague communicates both pain and beauty
with a concise clarity of expression. Furthermore, the book is spiced
with wonderful drawings by Claire Weissman Wilks, human figures alone or
in pairs that serve to remind us that love is as much an expression of
the body as of the mind. They are erotic without being embarrassing, and
the whole package could reside very comfortably on a living-room coffee


Montague, John., “The Love Poems,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,