Yarrow

Description

56 pages
$10.95
ISBN 0-88753-268-3
DDC C811'.54

Publisher

Year

1993

Contributor

Reviewed by Chris Knight

Chris Knight is a copy editor at Canadian Press.

Review

These 27 poems are enjoyable, but they cannot be enjoyed quickly.
Rather, they require some time to percolate into the reader; the
emotional content is not immediate.

The reward for the wait is somewhat modest. The poems often mix the
human and the elemental—natural images describe the body, and body
flows into nature—but the result is uneven. “As Spring Ends with
Evening” tells of “blossoms luminous as pale blue / milk / held by
touch, / simplified by the night / like the lines of your body.” There
are other such fine examples. Elsewhere, however, nature gains the upper
hand, resulting in emotion that is either absent or stony and
undeveloped.

Far more successful are Neufeldt’s poems of portraiture. These
combine awe and humor, as when the poet describes in “Jacobus” a
young miscreant writing his name in Latin with his urine: “We watched
Jake / pissing his name is a language older / than our teachers, almost
as old as God.”

The poems are written in free verse, but they are well-paced,
conversational yet measured. The rhythm carries the poetry without being
overly insistent. The poems themselves often rise to the rhythm, but
some do slip below.

Citation

Neufeldt, Leonard., “Yarrow,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/13382.