Frankie's Desires


94 pages
ISBN 0-919627-54-4
DDC C811'






Reviewed by Michael O. Nowlan

Michael O. Nowlan was a teacher and writer in Oromocto, New Brunswick.


Ken Rivard illustrates one of the key functions of poetry with the publication of Frankie’s Desires. Poetry is flexible and it can adapt to countless moods. What Rivard does is create a mythical, commonplace hero who is representative of the worker class throughout society. On the one hand, Frankie is a mailroom clerk; he then goes on to be an adman for Pepsi, a moving company worker, and so on. Rivard, who is an advocate of the worker, alternates between the serious, the satirical, and the fun loving. Frankie’s age roles range from paper boy to vice-president. He even has a stint as a chief scout for the Montreal Canadiens.

Rivard’s verse examines the moral aspects of being “debt free,” “shredding the truth,” and “the art of cunning.” Theme is also a metaphysical dimension through which he attempts to present a philosophy of life. He “imagines away his day” trying “to pretend” he is other than he is. The religious undertone threatens to mar the world of sin by the need for confession and penance. That this becomes routine, like life, and not sincere is the thrust of the poet’s utterance. Ken Rivard’s poems are sad / funny reflections of ourselves as we dream-desire our way through the maze that is defined as life. His verse lines echo in the ears of all who would listen to him.

Ken Rivard, who was born and brought up in Montreal, now lives in Calgary where he teaches special education. His work has been widely published in magazines and anthologies.


Rivard, Ken, “Frankie's Desires,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,