178 pages
ISBN 0-88784-580-0
DDC C811'.54




Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English at Laurentian University.


This fine collection provides a good sense of the range and development
of Patrick Cooley, who published his first book of poems in 1980.

The sun is a recurring image in poems that evoke various places in
Western Canada. Cooley draws upon styles as diverse as Robert
Creeley’s stark imagism and Allen Ginsberg’s overflowing jazz riffs.
In one poem, a car ride across winter prairies provides the backdrop for
the poet’s meditations on his recently dead father: “strung between
us father / your breath tumbles / shining quiet / inside my ribs / find
your hand hard in mine / your lines wound in / the stretch of muscles /
still living / but you are dead / & we float like lost birds / over this
frozen / land reading / these things / that we know.” Cooley’s use
of white space in this poem effectively conveys the multidimensionality
of the poet’s journey.

In the later poems, the language moves less in time to geography than
to meditative rhythms, as in “every year my dad drew lines”: “he
may as well have drawn lots / but he never did he always drew lines /
lots & lots of them // into the land these long long lines / he would go
bumping down the lane / first on the Massey & then the John Deere Dear /
John he would write inbetween.”


Cooley, Dennis., “Sunfall,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,