A New World: Essays on Poetry and Poetics


64 pages
ISBN 0-921852-06-1
DDC C811'.5409






Illustrations by Geof Isherwood
Reviewed by Bruce Meyer

Bruce Meyer teaches English at Trinity College, University of Toronto.


In this interesting but all-too-brief book, Ken Norris affirms his
position in Canadian poetry as a poet who is conscious of his craft as
an art and a tradition, and of his place within that tradition.
Unfortunately, his treatment of this theme in “The New World” is
short on explanation and depth. The essay on his work with Montreal’s
“Véhicule” poets in the 1970s similarly comes across more as a
notation than as a meditation. As a whole, the book reads like an
episodic and unfinished history of the poetry scene in Montreal—a
history that fails to establish a firm core for the more peripheral
material it relates. The book itself is an odd little production; the
cover is terrible, its Captain Marvel-style serving no purpose but to
distract. In many ways, Norris’s book is reminiscent of the Véhicule
poets he so steadfastly defends: sketchy, often cryptic, hinting at
depth but delivering less than promised, intellectual and scholastic in
its ambitions yet commonplace in its presentation.


Norris, Ken., “A New World: Essays on Poetry and Poetics,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/1614.