62 pages
ISBN 0-919285-24-4





Reviewed by Martin Singleton

Martin Singleton was a poet living in Toronto.


Banff/Breaking is Noble’s third book, a stage by which poets should have (at least) achieved some modicum of craft. Unfortunately, this is far from the case here.

The book is composed of two long poems. “Coming West Soon” is in four sections, chronicling the lives of such Banff natives as taxi drivers and waitresses. Such treatment has definite possibilities (as Edgar Lee Masters and W.C. Williams have proven), but the language, when not verbose, is awkward and the overall effect is boring. The more ambitious “Banff/Breaking,” in 28 sections, deals with much the same persons, and there is one rather nice scenario about a runaway bus. Again, however, the diction is singularly awkward (“their modern language sooting itself,” “they play perplexity,” “female form”) where it is not flat (“the crescent wheat grass is brown,” “the long spring dry spell”). The narrative line is rarely sufficiently developed to bear such ponderous weight, nor is the interaction between town and environment fully developed. An amateurish cover design, a bad photograph, and credits which include “Editing” and “Editing for the Press” — but significantly, no magazine credits — complete the package.


Noble, Charles, “Banff/Breaking,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,