You Speak to Me in Trees


68 pages
ISBN 1-55071-247-0
DDC C811'.6






Reviewed by Sheila Martindale

Sheila Martindale is poetry editor of Canadian Author and Bookman and
the author of No Greater Love.


Some of the poems in this book are straightforward, but for others you
might want to have a dictionary handy, perhaps a gardening manual, and a
reference source for Middle Eastern place names. They are, however, all
interesting and well written.

Trees and other growing things do have a prominent place in the
collection, and the poet has a nice eye for animal details, such as
spotting a family of deer next to the highway, and watching salmon
“flinging themselves upstream” in Alaska. There are also poems about
death and mourning, with occasional references to family and friends.
And some lovely descriptions of natural oddities, such as this from
“Winter Berries”: “Hangers-on / these black and leathered / nubs
of wizened berries / fastened to the bushes still / midwinter.” The
poet describes snow, ice, and cold with some passion, and we can also
read descriptions of extreme heat.

Wolfe has the knack of taking something fairly ordinary and making it
into an extraordinary poem. A portion of the book was shortlisted for
the 2004 CBC Poetry Award, and some of the poems won the 2004 Lichen
Serial Poet Award.


Wolff, Elana., “You Speak to Me in Trees,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,