Touch Earth.


106 pages
ISBN 978-1-55071-231-4
DDC C811'.6





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.


Touch Earth, Travis Lane’s eighth book, is dedicated to “The Raging Grannies, with us, whether present or gone before.” A back cover comment by Laurence Hutchman likens Lane’s “wit and subtle texture of language” to that of Margaret Avison, and her “freshness and liveliness” to the work of Denise Levertov. These connections convey continuity in women’s writing, along with an everyday and naturalistic spirituality that confers complex notions in simple and story-like sentiments.

The poems are mostly presented in alphabetical order. We learn from the first one that there is no sentimentality in her vision of the natural world. She warns her readers, “The breeze / you thought might waft the gnats away / brings its own creatures with it,” and “Your night lover / ... may be a snake, / a fox.”

In “Herne’s Oak,” Lane introduces us to the “Green Man,” as well as to the nature spirits, fairies, and “matron maenads” who appear. Also in her field of vision is the reality of the Native medicine wheel, which parallels poetry and, to this poet, indicates “caring.”

An early poem ends “old women make poor orators.” This is not so, however; the “Sage” speaks her truth and wisdom blazes through. All Lane’s readers need to do is bring their own passions for “touching earth” to a reading and commit themselves to disseminate this wisdom via the seven winds of heaven. We may want to prevent “spillage, washing up on shores,” or the spreading of “road salt [that] kills the pines,” or the “flare [of] orange lights” at the Mall which stops us from seeing the stars. We may desire, like Lane, to “Make It New.”



Lane, M. Travis., “Touch Earth.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,