Report on the Second Half of the Twentieth Century: Books 8-11


112 pages
ISBN 0-919754-38-4
DDC C811'.54






Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp is chair of the Drama Department at Queen’s University
and author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


This collection, the latest instalment in Ken Norris’s acclaimed
postmodern “poem including history,” consists of four extended
poems: “The Book of Return,” “1984: A Year in My Life,” “The
Wheel,” and “Radar Interference” (the latter was a CBC Literary
Competition prizewinner).

Norris’s poetry is not easy to come to terms with. It is full of
literary references, and of deliberate obscurity and ambivalence.
However, for the reader who makes the effort, the poet’s imagery has a
power and strength that is truly unique. Most impressive in this volume
is “The Wheel,” a flowing, continuous poem that speaks of the
deepest desires and aspirations, and that is at once intensely personal
and representative of its age.


Norris, Ken., “Report on the Second Half of the Twentieth Century: Books 8-11,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,