Bones to Bury: Poems and Sculpture


86 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88962-249-3





Photos by Peter Hogan
Reviewed by Michael O. Nowlan

Michael O. Nowlan was a teacher and writer in Oromocto, New Brunswick.


James Strecker, who now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, was born in Manitoba in 1943. Following a multi-varied career which includes teaching and graphoanalysis, Strecker has published numerous poems in Canada and abroad. His list of poetry credits features the major literary magazines of this country. Bones to Bury is his first book.

Some may find it difficult to imagine poetry and sculpture as compatible entities, but Strecker uses the sculpture to blend music and rhythm with metaphor. The sculptures (there are seven of them, including a Memorial to McLuhan and King Lear) are mostly of welded steel and have been photographed by Peter Hogan. They must be considered unusual even though they provide good focus for the book.

The poems are strong, blunt images of man who has been “allotted /a portion /of sin.” This sinful world, with all its dreams, its passions, its wounds, its scavengers, and its pain, concludes in death — and this death is the chief image, in both a real and a metaphoric sense. James Strecker pays tribute to many who have passed from this vale of tears and to others who still struggle to “come to terms” with the inhumanity of man to man. There are few pleasant images as the utterance seeks to lay bare the conscience.

Like many books of poetry produced by the small presses of this country, Bones to Bury will not get the exposure it deserves. That James Strecker has captured the “other self’ of mankind, there is absolutely no question. There is here a wrenching of the inner spirit that allows no rest. No further examination of conscience is needed.




Strecker, James, “Bones to Bury: Poems and Sculpture,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,