A Surfeit of Love


47 pages





Reviewed by Michael O. Nowlan

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


Weldon Hanbury is a relative newcomer to the Canadian literary scene, but his work shows much potential. A Surfeit of Love has a diverse collection of lyrics, all of which focus on life as it is experienced in a topsy turvy world of love, sex, and eccentrics. There are numerous allusions to Greece and Greek customs; there are domestic utterances, as in “Brothers”; there are descriptive verses, like “On the Cape Breton Highway”; and there are whimsical passages expressed in terms like “If I Were a Horse.”

Perhaps the opening poem, “Penance,” sets the tone for the collection. In each poem, Hanbury seems to be searching for some kind of “a pure penitential season.” There is a guilt the poetic voice is intent on erasing, but no simple means is available. “Permit me to manufacture time,” says the poet, “to invent my penitential season.” In many respects, these are quest poems whose journey is endless because the search for utopian satisfaction goes on, at least in poetic image. Probably also in the poet’s own dimension of philosophy.

Weldon Hanbury comes on the scene without any great fanfare, but the strong rhythms and the keen images foretell that better is to come. Lines from “June 2nd. 11:45” are truly self-evaluations of his work where he says “the night is pubescent, / not merely young, / and hasn’t yet come / to fruition.” These poems are in that stage where they are more than childish scribblings but not yet fully developed. Time and “the season” will do that.


Hanbury, Weldon, “A Surfeit of Love,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38525.