The Birdhouse, Or


106 pages
ISBN 0-894800-11-7
DDC C811'.54






Reviewed by Chris Knight

Chris Knight is copy editor of the National Post in Toronto.


It’s apt that the title of this collection trails off, because the
poems within have a habit also of wandering from their original intent
into new and interesting directions. The first 10 poems, for instance,
loosely follow the experience of a father and two sons building a
birdhouse, but stray into territory both serious (the birth of the boys,
a father’s role on that day and in their lives) and humorous
(belly-buttons, innies, outies, and the origin and meaning of lint).
Similarly, poems ostensibly about limes or teaching follow their own
twisty logic to new subjects, leading the reader so that the paths, in
retrospect, appear perfectly straight and sensible.

Dopp’s language is for the most part plain and unadorned, but it is
the poems’ plots—an English lecture made memorable by a dancing
student, or the final wash given to a dying man’s beloved car—that
give this slim collection its crackle.


Dopp, Jamie., “The Birdhouse, Or,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,