Cloud Gate


48 pages
ISBN 0-919754-05-8





Reviewed by Michael Williamson

Michael Williamson was Reference Librarian at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa.


Claudia Lapp’s new collection consists of forty poems in four sections: “Animus,” “Wilderness,” “Oneiros,” and “Cloud Gate.” Many of the poems have an undeniable spunk and colloquial verve:

like when
your shirt attacked me
from an innocent closet corner,
and you not in it, like when
my tears sprang out to meet
your shirt, damned shirt
(“Shirt Shock”)

Ms. Lapp is best when she keeps to this kind of voice, the poems seem to roll off her tongue effortlessly with the odd imagistic twist here and there. She doesn’t maintain this voice, however: and when she drifts away from the personal realm into the self transcendent realm, the poems seem banal, forced, and self-conscious. This is a problem because the whole book is a homage to Carl Jung:

Carl Jung, whose name means “young”

restored to me a part of myself.
In gratitude isat,
skirtless, on his lap

“Skirtless,” indeed: and lots of talk of “fine lady,” “healing” “spirit” and, ala Bob Dylan, “my lover and I so entwined.” There are so many hackneyed and anachronistic images, as well as so much just plain clumsy diction, that some of the avowedly spiritual poems are simply funny instead of moving. Even the poems in the last section about the recent death of the poet’s mother lack focus and tension: they’re just vague stabs at coming to terms. A far from memorable collection.


Lapp, Claudia E., “Cloud Gate,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,