Flowers in Magnetic Fields


136 pages
ISBN 0-920717-87-X
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Bert Almon

Bert Almon is a professor of English at the University of Alberta and
the author of Calling Texas and Earth Prime.


Raymond Filip’s poems, which are set in a vivid Montreal, not only
evoke the physical aspects of the city (the streets, the familiar
external iron staircases to apartments), they also convey something of
the polyglot richness of the human speech in that multilingual setting.
Here and there a reader will be reminded of A.M. Klein’s legendary
Montreal. Filip’s talent is real.

However, the collection, in spite of its virtues, needed more editing.
There are many lightweight pieces and sometimes the humor is lame (as in
his poem about toilets, “God Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”). His
portraits of people sometimes seem brutally exploitative (“Georgina”
and “Portrait of a Video Nut”). The increasingly popular
centre-every-line approach, which Filip uses in almost all of the poems,
works better in his short lyrics than in his complex narratives, where
the difficult, jagged format impedes the reading of the poem.


Filip, Raymond., “Flowers in Magnetic Fields,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,