correction line

25 November 2009

correction line
by Dennis Cooley
Published by Thistledown Press
Reviewed by Kelly-Anne Riess
$15.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-50-8

Dennis Cooley’s long poem correction line is both touching and poignant, recreating memory and the prairie landscape.

Cooley shows his many talents, as his work is vernacular, funny, anecdotal and personal, touching on his own family history.

correction line plays with ideas around creation and how things, like poetry, are produced. For instance he writes in response to his surrounding geography, but also from what he’s learned studying others’ poetry and literary theory over the last 30 years or so.

A correction line is a device used to compensate for the curve of longitude. And Cooley’s book follows the line between his beginnings in Estevan, Saskatchewan to his current home of Winnipeg. It also traces a poetic line to American poet Charles Olson, writing:

/an O pening
of the field/

At the beginning of the book, Cooley almost quotes Eli Mandel’s poem “Life Sentence” in its entirety.

Mandel was the first poet from Estevan, and now Cooley is the second.

Cooley’s words are more than semantic, as he uses them for visual effect. On one page, for example, the words physically create the appearance of a farmer’s field.

His lines do double duty, pivoting meaning and bringing surprise.

correction line is one of Cooley’s best.


No Comments

Comments are closed.