The Salvation of Desire


48 pages
ISBN 0-9685339-4-9
DDC C811'.54




Reviewed by Bert Almon

Bert Almon is a professor of English at the University of Alberta. He is
the author of Calling Texas, Earth Prime, and Mind the Gap.


The St. Thomas Poetry Series features work with a spiritual dimension,
an important niche. Barry Dempster’s poems are serious explorations of
Christian themes in well-made structures. His work lacks the intensity
and turmoil of the great devotional poets like John Donne, Gerard Manley
Hopkins and—to use a Canadian example—Margaret Avison.

In “Let There Be Light,” he creates an image of a sensitive person
who sits down at the breakfast table with the Arts Section of the paper
and some jazz CDs, ready for pondering the deeper issues but not up to
wrestling with an angel like Jacob. His poem about the statue of Gandhi
from Richmond Hill wandering down Yonge Street is very good, and he has
a brilliant suite on St. Therese of Lisieux, but most of the poems
muffle their effects in urbanity.


Dempster, Barry., “The Salvation of Desire,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,