The Fells of Brightness, Second Volume: Wenkchemna


93 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919285-33-3






Reviewed by Martin Singleton

Martin Singleton was a poet living in Toronto.


In one of the few coherent sections of this book, Whyte has a character say non cogito, ergo ascendo (I do not know, therefore I climb). He might well have changed the final verb to scribo (write). Indeed, the preface to this volume — the second of five written about a mountain range — is replete with such words as “orology” and “eidolons.” The book’s ten sections name each peak, give its elevation in feet and metres, the date and names of the first ascent. This could make for powerful poetry, but when Whyte is not being esoteric without explanation (using such mountaineering words as “talus” and “col”) he is abominably pretentious in a nonsensical sort of way; “nom, name, nomenclature, / cognomen, gnomon, sign, significance — / significance of magnificence / mirroring to magnifications and mine (mon?) meaning?” Mixed in with this versifying are spatterings of concrete verse of varying typefaces. Pity the trees that died for such a venture. With such lines as “a sorrowing goat, your baleful face, / your bearded face, your bulging eyes, / slung on a pole, o captive grace,” this is arguably the silliest, clumsiest, most pretentiously inept book this reviewer has ever seen.


Whyte, Jon, “The Fells of Brightness, Second Volume: Wenkchemna,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,