A Mysterian Poem


ISBN 0-919957-18-8





Reviewed by Bill Brydon

Bill Brydon was a librarian/journalist in Toronto.


These three trite books of poetry are productions of HMS Press, a shoe-string operation run by Wayne Ray, which publishes and publicizes poetry in Toronto. Each consists of several pages of stiff paper folded over and stapled, with primitive lay-out and amateurish black-and-white photography. The poetry is less crude than the “punk poetry” that is sometimes sold in Queen St. clothing shops, but it is also less engaging.

A Mysterian Poem, by Allen Angel, is the sort of thing a high school student might write in defiance of the entire history of recorded literature. The six poems express unremarkable sentiments about drugs, lovers, and rock stars. The spelling mistakes and bad grammar are probably deliberate. The word Mysterian does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Wayne Ray’s Photographs is a collection of 13 haiku poems, one of which I like:

sea of flat glass, flower


The other twelve are dispensable. Bad poets always want to write extremely short poems, probably in order to demonstrate complete technical control; however, as this book shows, condensed verse is a test not of technique but of talent.

The Captain is a tribute to Ray’s father, who served in Korea. The poem represents the reflection of a man who comes upon his trunk of war mementos in the attic and resolves to return with his sons. This subject is of great personal importance, both for Ray and his father and for millions of other men the world over. Unfortunately, the poem is clumsily written and the images and ideas are typical and ineffective. The book is profusely illustrated by photos from Korea and from the Ray family album.


Angel, Allen W., “A Mysterian Poem,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37202.