Beyond the Lighthouse


55 pages
ISBN 0-88982-114-3
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Chris Knight

Chris Knight is a copy editor at Canadian Press.


Winona Baker has kept a suppleness and fluidity often associated with a
much younger mind, and paired it with the wisdom of her 70 years. The
poems in this slim volume sparkle with images of eagles, water, fish,
and trees, but the ideas they transmit are those of the human body and
the human heart, of a fading memory of love in “Young Girls Dream of
Love,” or of a lie made more real than love in “Let’s.” Baker
can poke feminist fun at subjects, as when she muses on the reason for
the Mona Lisa’s smile: “Leo said to her, ‘You know Mona / you’re
very intelligent / for a woman.’” But this ironic wit can turn as
easily on herself: “If he took my picture / he might / cut off my head
/ it appears / I haven’t been using it.”

The influence of haiku is seen in the short, two-and three-line verses,
but Baker sometimes returns to western rhythm and rhyme, as in “Terra
Incognita,” a sonnet about parting from romance. In all her poems, she
exerts a gentle pressure, not forcing a message or a meaning on readers,
but neither letting them escape without being touched by an emotion, and
made to reflect on it.


Baker, Winona., “Beyond the Lighthouse,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,