Future Rivers


64 pages
ISBN 0-920304-66-4
DDC C811





Reviewed by Bob Lincoln

Bob Lincoln is Director of Acquisitions at the University of Manitoba


Janet Simpson-Cooke writes concise, direct poems about women and men, and Future Rivers is an exploration of those relationships. The cover of her book suggests the flight / ravishment of the new bride, and these musings are of promises and anticipations, of separations and distances between lovers.

“Candles and Moon” has a curious detachment, the lines jump, twist back on themselves as the central person in the poem remembers the affair, and cleans up the glasses and the bed.

The sense of loss and separation also occurs between women, in the women of the same name. The image of a moment over a glass of wine telescopes into the downward flight of a swing, and intimacies fall apart. The image of the river, going somewhere downstream, carrying debris from the past into the uncertain future, gives an undercurrent of power and inevitability to these poems. Here are the tensions of women, of men, of friends, and of mothers in the Martell Towers that they construct around themselves.

Simpson-Cooke uses a slightly longer line in “Living in Exile,” and the effect is lovely, wistful, and the phrasing is like a ballad.

In all, this is a very good collection of poems.



Simpson-Cooke, Janet, “Future Rivers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/34662.