Rue du Regard

Description

80 pages
$14.95
ISBN 0-919688-11-X
DDC C811'.54

Author

Publisher

Year

2004

Contributor

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

Review

Canadian literature, unlike American, did not produce a “Lost
Generation,” but it has had its expatriates, such as Mavis Gallant and
Anne Hébert. Montreal-born poet Todd Swift is another Canadian who has
chosen to live in Europe as a visiting university lecturer in Budapest,
as well as a resident of Paris and London. This book honours his
European homes through sections devoted to them.

The “Paris” section reflects Swift’s attachment to that city.
“Rue du Regard” and “45 Rue Saint-Placide” are addresses in his
old neighbourhood. “Leaving Paris” is a sentimental farewell to
local characters, such as “my barber / Hugues Renaut, who I saw ...
For Coiffure & Soins.” He concludes Part 1 with “Monsieur Pigeon’s
Best Machine,” a quirky tribute to the Montparnasse cemetery.

Swift dedicates the rest of his book to London, which he may not love
as much. “Marleybone,” his new neighbourhood, seems to be less
inviting than his old one. This poet, like countless other observers,
realizes that London’s traditions may be its main attraction. “O
Magnum Mysterium” is about St. Giles Cripplegate, a church that “saw
dark Cromwell / Married, grand Milton buried under the floor.” Family
history is remembered in “A Hero Returned from the Front, Oct.
1902.” In this poem, relative Harry Home, “a Sergeant-Major in the
Cape Mounted Infantry,” reveals his picaresque misdeeds. Britain’s
past is noted with gravitas and irreverence.

Cinema is shrewdly observed. In “Perfume and New Shoes,” a starlet
at the Cannes film festival press conference says “Hip, bitchy things
about Americans.” Just another stereotype or the poetic equivalent of
a “blind” gossip column item?

Rue du Regard offers lively poetry for discerning individuals.

Citation

Swift, Todd., “Rue du Regard,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31138.