Heading Out: The New Saskatchewan Poets


131 pages
ISBN 0-919926-58-4





Edited by Don Kerr and Ann Szumigalski
Reviewed by Martin Singleton

Martin Singleton was a poet living in Toronto.


This anthology contains the work of thirty-eight “new” Saskatchewan poets, “new” being defined as someone who has published no more than one book. For six poets nearly 20% — this is the first publication anywhere. While there is wide variation in age, refreshingly few writers here fail to satisfy. One of the best poems, “Alien,” from one of the finest poets, Lee Gowan, ends “outside, the prairie, under snow tents, waits.” One of the strengths of this book is the poets’ diverse reactions to the commonality of nature. Themes of isolation, alienation, bonding, family, history, violence and art are explored. For some, the perspective can be political, as in Brenda Rich’s superb anger. Others like H.C. Dillow use a mythological framework. Styles range from traditional to moderately experimental; the majority of the poems are in well-crafted free verse.

Heading Out isa welcome voice for new poets, many of whom are known only locally. There is much here that is good — and a fair amount that is excellent — with very little dross. This is a book edited with skill and commitment; I highly recommend it.


“Heading Out: The New Saskatchewan Poets,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35148.