55 pages
ISBN 0-919285-12-0






Donalee Moulton-Barrett was a writer and editor in Halifax.


John Nold has a lyrical voice and a deep intimacy with nature. At times that’s enough to make his poetry satisfying and successful. Other times it isn’t.

Nold looks closely at the precision, as well as the beauty, of nature, and he subtly juxtaposes the scientific with the natural: “At the oval window / the stapes pushes against / at 30 times the pressure of the wavefront.” It’s a thought-provoking and refreshing view that Nold carefully controls throughout Awe.

And it’s a device that works. As does Nold’s method of taking one line from a preceding poem and writing another poem around it. He creates two distinct poems and intimately connects them.

Not all of Nold’s devices work, however. All of his poetry (with the possible exception of one poem) is untitled. This is awkward and confusing, and it serves no purpose. Likewise, the footnotes that are tacked on at the end of Awe are inconvenient and unnecessary. If the footnote is that essential to the poem it shouldn’t be a footnote: it should be in the poem. Nold may resort to these artificial devices in an attempt to keep his poetry free-flowing and interwoven. He doesn’t need to. It already is.


Nold, John, “Awe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,