Weather Report


ISBN 0-919957-06-4






Reviewed by Bob Lincoln

Bob Lincoln is Director of Acquisitions at the University of Manitoba


Poems that have weak images, or poems that contain few pictures, smells, touch, taste, or noise or just scribbles on paper. Weak poems conceal more than they reveal, and to chase their meanings is almost an exercise without benefit. Weather Report, by the Toronto poet Brian Burch, lacks strong images; those that are strong are predictable.

In developing a poem around abstractions such as “Death” or “Peace,” the successful poet conveys his message by demonstrating it. If it is a concrete poem, or one that requires an oral presentation to do it justice, these necessities can be suggested by the language or typographical layout. In any case, the writing must be tight and to the point. The more particular and specific a poem’s images, the better it works.

Phrases like “People need to be freed / from the chains of bourgeois order” are just too clumsy. This may be a true statement to the revolutionary socialist, but as poetry it lacks grit. These are newspaper headlines, captions. The image “Trees / echo the road” is difficult to make sense or feeling of; “echo” is a weak verb, and just fills out the line.

In the poem “Death Stalking” there is rhetoric, but the substance of death is dismissed by the ending “Death, unfortunately / is ultimately boring.” I don’t believe that.



Burch, Brian, “Weather Report,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,