The Gates of Even


120 pages
ISBN 0-894800-12-5
DDC C811'.6





Reviewed by Susan McKnight

Susan McKnight is an administrator of the Courts Technology Integrated Justice Project at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.


John O. Thompson is a veteran writer. His work roams from the humorous
to the academic, with an appropriate vocabulary for each instance. His
ability to make a statement about the truths of life works equally well
in short poems like “The Prop” (“The prop lay aslant / the true
line’s empty/ inessential as you / as as askew”) as it does in
longer, more “intellectual” offerings like “Europa
51/Liverpool—London 85.”

Thompson’s poetic approach to understanding the realities of life has
been compared to that of a jazz philosopher. There is the sense of
things gone bad, of things not working out the way one hopes; however,
each one of these realizations is treated with subtle humour or at least
a sense of the solution being attainable. The jazz musician’s ability
to improvise at any given moment is apparent in Thompson’s style.

Thompson is the co-author of Shakespeare, Meaning and Metaphor and the
co-editor of Contemporary Poetry Meets Modern Theory. The Gates of Even
is his third book of poetry.


Thompson, John O., “The Gates of Even,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,