There'll Be Another

Description

125 pages
$13.95
ISBN 0-88922-361-0
DDC C811'.54

Publisher

Year

1995

Contributor

Reviewed by Roger Nash

Roger Nash is a professor of philosophy at Laurentian University and the
author of Night Flying.

Review

David McFadden’s 18th book of verse shows him consistently at his
best, as a warm-hearted, quietly conversational storyteller.

The collection opens with an evocative sequence of poems about Havana,
unfolding snapshots of the streets that introduce an almost metaphysical
division between things that can be “fixed” and those that cannot.
For example, a prostitute dressed in the dark, rich colors of a Matisse
portrait tries, unsuccessfully, to attract customers; the poem ends with
a lightly made, though deeply suggestive, linking of her failure with
what cannot be “fixed” in life. In “Havana All Night Long,”
which evokes early morning in the city as a mysterious, fearful, yet
comic realm of roosters calling to one another, some roosters seem to
call from a hidden dimension of “nowhere.” The poem closes with the
rush hour, each person in the crowd entering this dimension of magical
individual invisibility.

As the collection progresses, there is a gradual shift away from the
centrality of the storyteller. “Gripped with Desire” reflects on how
unexamined lusts may play a diminishing part in long-term relationships;
here, the only narrative element is the organizing metaphor of a journey
away from shame and jealousy. In “Dead Belugas,” a powerful poem
about our massive environmental irresponsibility, the “narrative” is
that of thwarted evolutionary energies.

The shift away from storytelling shows McFadden’s reaching into new
realms of sensibility, but there are some missteps. In “Acid Rain,”
general reflections on sense in life aren’t united by any ongoing
chains of thought and imagery. A handful of other later poems face this
difficulty.

Citation

McFadden, David W., “There'll Be Another,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/1517.