From the Songs of the Artisans


69 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-86492-040-7




Reviewed by Carolyn Hlus

Carolyn Hlus was a lecturer in English literature at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.


From the Songs of the Artisans has as its subject matter the occupations of hand-using artisans as diverse as traditional craftsmen: woodturners, engravers, whittlers, rug braiders, and glass blowers; ethereal professions: medical personnel and diviners; mundane or primordial workers: loggers, menagerists, and harness makers. Poems are accompanied by photographs depicting artisans or artisans’ hands in action. Each set of poems is dedicated to particular persons, presumably because they have the particular vocation that is the subject of that set of poems.

While the range of occupations is, at first glance, only obscurely linked, the imagery of the poems shows that they have a common denominator. These occupations are all concerned with creation, transformation, and preservation.

Welch’s style is terse, controlled, and sparkled with frequent allusions to Greek mythology. Her craftsmanship ranks her in a position equal to that of the artisans about whom she writes with fitting admiration.


Welch, Liliane, “From the Songs of the Artisans,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 15, 2024,