The Daughter of a Lumberjack

20 December 2013

The Daughter of a Lumberjack
by Melanie Merasty
Published by JackPine Press
Review by Alison Slowski
$30 ISBN 978-1-927035-08-5

In this novel idea for a suite of poetry, we meet two recurring characters: a young woman and her father, the lumberjack. The reader can smell the gorgeous pine, can almost taste the sap, and can see the lumberjack father’s stubbly grey beard glittering in the light of the morning sun rising over the tops of the trees.

This group of poems tells the story of a woman trying to understand her father through the framework of his history and trade. Allusions are made to her immigrant grandfather, the teacher of her father in the trade. The family’s home life is delicately touched on in “Kindling.” The collection paints a picture of the man himself.

Some themes explored in this collection of poetry are that of family, of the trials and tribulations they face as the family of a lumberjack, and of the bonds that keep them together, stronger than the chains a lumberjack uses for cutting down trees. The poem “Sap” in particular tells us of Merasty’s journey:

“As if I know the way
a tree falls
the way it feels
when it is cut at the knees.”

The poems breathe life into the landscape they pay tribute to, conjuring up smoky images of beautiful mountains and great, dense forests with beautiful trees, their piney branches waving gently in the breeze.

Noteworthy too is the form of this book; encased in a wooden sleeve of Saskatchewan Poplar, and bound in sandpaper, it does as much to evoke the lumberjack as the words themselves.


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