There Are Many Ways: Poems New and Revised

Description

124 pages
$18.95
ISBN 0-894800-05-2
DDC C811'.54

Publisher

Year

2002

Contributor

Illustrations by Jack Wise

Ronald Charles Epstein is a Toronto-based freelance writer and published poet.

Review

Alert CBC viewers may recognize Peter Trower from the network telefilm
The Diary of Evelyn Lau. Others may be familiar with his novels or verse
collections.

His first poetry book, Moving Through the Mystery, was illustrated by
fellow British Columbian Jack Wise. Unfortunately, this book—their
second collaborative effort—was published six years after Wise died.
Trower’s tragic timing is compounded by a publication error. A partial
version of the poem “The Abandonment” appears on page 73, followed
by the complete version in the next three pages.

Sometimes, things work in the author’s favour. In “Arctic Air
Front,” the phrase “dictators blustering generals / generalizing /
in the name of the Pentagon President Bush / and God” refers to the
first Gulf War. Readers may apply it to the present one. Trower, like
other critics of the earlier conflict, had his protests short-circuited
by America’s decisive victory. The present crisis means that he
benefits from salvaged sentiments.

“Roots,” this book’s first section, showcases the writer’s
memories. “In Little Red Schoolhouse,” “Sour Gabriella,” his
nasty teacher, flees classroom and town after her skirt falls down in
front of her students. He wryly states that “I wish all my ogres / had
thrown in the towel / as easily as you.” “Brawls” recalls how
Trower learned between Hollywood fisticuffs and real violence. Action
heroes “jump unscathed / like tireless robots,” but when the
projectionist batters an annoying drunk, the result is “dribbling
real-life unpretty gore / before our stunned and disillusioned eyes.”
The writer learns a universal lesson with a dose of irony or poetic
justice.

Few of the other poems are as effective as the ones cited. Those that
work succeed because Trower can be an observant and creative poet.

Citation

Trower, Peter., “There Are Many Ways: Poems New and Revised,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17833.