Midnight Stroll.


180 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 978-1-55096-070-9
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Beryl Baigent

Beryl Baigent is a poet; her published collections include Absorbing the
Dark, Hiraeth: In Search of Celtic Origins, Triptych: Virgins, Victims,
Votives, and Mystic Animals.


Inspired by three contemporary artists, Janice Kulyk Keefer has produced an eye-catching volume. The cover magnetizes the reader with a striking painting by Natalka Husar, an artist of Ukrainian immigrant parents who moved to Toronto from New Jersey in 1973. Painting, book, and title poem all share the same name.

Claire Weissman Wilks, the second artist, draws, creates lithographs, and sculpts in bronze and clay. The sequence based on her work is called “Etty Hillesum (1914–1943).” It represents the longest narrative section of the book. Readers learn that Etty is a 27-year-old “Jewish woman in Amsterdam during the Second World War” with “A law degree, a love / of Rilke and Russian.” Her code seems to be “One has to live one’s life to the full / And to the end.” We are informed in a final note that Etty died in Auschwitz.

Goran Petkovski, the third artist, hails from Macedonia. Over the last 10 years he has exhibited and published documentary photographs, 21 of which are the impetus for Keefer’s poem “The Waste Zone.” Eliot’s “The Wasteland” and the 2001 “Summit of the Americas” in Quebec City are deliberately evoked by her title.

Embracing the Inuit legend of Sedna, wife of the sea bird, Keefer writes an exceptionally political poem on corporate globalization, U.S. foreign policy, peaceful protests, NAFTA, and political prisoners — all passionate subjects in North American politics.

Keefer opens Midnight Stroll with a brilliant poem for her friend, Connie Rooke, that introduces readers to the connection between text and all art. The poet obviously believes that all artistic communication can be an important method by which one may convey important values in life. Whether her subjects are social, personal, or political, Keefer expresses all aspects of life as spiritually underpinned. One can only trust that her depth and detail will be appreciated, at a gut level as well as a literary one.



Keefer, Janice Kulyk., “Midnight Stroll.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/26858.