Ellen Burt ≈ Book Review


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Book Review – Dreams Laid Down – Poems by Janice Notland (Little White Publishing, 2011)


Janis writes with the voice of one who has a deep connection with nature. She knows not only each individual tree, but the light which passes through it. Most of the poems in this book were written on or about her land in the Kootenays where she lived for six years before moving to the Okanagan. The book is divided into sections, beginning with “In Praise Of” and followed by “the Wild Within.”  Despite the astute descriptions, I found the first three sections lacking in subtlety and contrast. It was not until the section entitled “Troubles” that the poems began to grab me. In this section the voice acquires an edge, addressing life on the street, the experience of a runaway youth, and the death of lover and family. In the poem entitled “Angel” the author describes  a woman on the street:

“No new ager this

no Rumi that,

no incense and meditation.”

In “the Best of Days,” the experiences of this hitch-hiking teenager alternate with the peace of the later poet. I held my breath as I read.

 “When I clawed my way out of the ditch

night air iced my bruised mouth”

The last poem in the book is entitled “Meeting.” Truly curious, the author follows natural images to a spiritual conclusion, guiding the reader to a satisfying wholeness. If this book initially seems trite, skip ahead. In the course of the book the author matures as a poet and dares to reveal an intriguing contrast in her life experience.







Linda Crosfield
Feb 25

to bcc: me

Hi there,

I’m ridiculously proud of this. I was paired with a book artist from Maryland…I had to write a poem based on a picture of her work and she had to create new work based on one of my poems. Here’s what happened!

Linda…they also serve who only sit and read


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