Our Lamps Were Heavy
DriverWorks Ink / 24 January 2013

Our Lamps Were Heavy by Eleanor A. Sinclair Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Keith Foster $14.95 ISBN 978-0-9879643-3-5 A diary is a good thing to keep; you never know when it might come in handy. Eleanor Sinclair uses extracts from a diary she kept as a nurse in training as the basis for her book, Our Lamps Were Heavy. A retired registered nurse, Sinclair relates the sharp learning curve she experienced as a teen in the 1950s while in training at the Holy Family Hospital and School of Nursing in Prince Albert. She soon learned there was more to nursing than wearing a white uniform. This book is not for the squeamish. While assisting in a delivery, Sinclair witnessed both mother and baby die in childbirth. Then she had to carry the stillborn child to the morgue and clean it for burial. Her narrative slows somewhat when she uses medical terms, but is most lively when she quotes from her diary: “I copied doctor’s orders wrong today and had a baby girl to be circumcised tomorrow. Did I ever get teased.” Sinclair supplements her text with three dozen black and white photos taken while she was training. All the…

Glacial Erratics
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 24 January 2013

Glacial Erratics by Peter Sarsfield and Kim Mann Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Sandy Bonny $ 19.95 ISBN 378-1-894431-72-9 A current of migration compels this partnership of poems and pictures from writer Peter Sarsfield and photographer Kim Mann — the book captures animals in movement, seasons in change, and landscapes etched by shadows that, with the lift of a page, allude to lengthening and contraction. Between photographs, poetic offerings travel between the Canadian North and southern prairies, tracing avenues of time and maturity, circling anchor-stones of hope and regret. The collection’s title, ‘Glacial Erratics’, refers to boulders deposited by the ice sheets that once covered our prairie landscape. These provide evidence of our geographical heritage, offering themselves as touchstones to a history of dramatic change. And yet they are accidental legacies, monuments borne of glacial fatigue, of failure and release. These poems echo their title. Read separately, it would be difficult to thread them to a theme. But linked and grounded by Mann’s photographs, they plot a journey. A raft of incidents, a life’s hopes and lessons. There is a risk in this trust of fate to organize the poems, which Sarsfield alludes to in ‘message found’:…