Author: Don Gutteridge
ISBN: 978-1-927725-40-5 = 9781927725405
Trade Paperback: 105 pages – 6 X 9
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Inundations looks back at the past – childhood and growing up – with wry humour and an ironic eye. Gutteridge’s poems pack an emotional punch.
Inundations is a book about both past and present as seen through the lens of short lyrical poems. Gutteridge takes us back to his childhood village, his experiences there and the rogue’s gallery of local characters he meets and cherishes. His present-day poems explore the joys and challenges of an ageing writer. They have the ring of truth.
In Indundations Gutteridge goes back to his childhood days in his home village of Point Edward, where he recounts the joys and pains of growing up – seen through the prism of memory. Part One introduces the reader to the many colourful characters that people the Point, observed with wry humour and not a little irony. Part Two contains powerful lyric poems about the poet’s present-day life, particularly the joys of being a grandfather. Part Three is a miscellany of poems, many of which explore the process of writing itself. Gutteridge’s poems have been described as both “pleasant and haunting.” They will leave the reader wanting more.
Inundations comes in three distinct parts. Part One is all about remembrance, the joys and pain of recalling one’s childhood and the village which shaped and nourished it. These are poems about the lifeblood of a small community and the people who inhabit it: friends, grandparents, town characters, roustabouts and sweethearts. Gutteridge looks squarely at his home turf without sentiment and with a wry humour, through the lens of the present and the perspective of age. Point Edward is as much a character as those who live there, and the memories of it are both solace and
sorrow. Part Two is all about the present, particularly the surprising pleasures of being a grandparent and the realization that the poet is ageing even as his grandchildren grow apace. Part Three is a miscellany of occasional poems, several of them dealing with the process of writing poetry itself. Gutteridge’s poems are simple, musical and rhythmical: they have the ring of truth.
Readings from Inundation
Reading from God’s Geography
Inundations is a collection of poems written by Don Gutteridge. The first section is entitled “Remember When,” and it is a nostalgic look at the poet’s past; those magical moments still vividly remembered and those people who were special still alive in his heart and words. Part Two deals with the present day. There are the joys of family merged with a sense of outrage and astonishment at the passing of time. The final section dips through past and present as the poet ensures that every word, phrase, and memory is laid out shimmering for his readers to absorb. Gutteridge eschews tight and obvious rhyme schemes, and instead graces each poem with compelling alliteration that teases the tongue into an unconscious but strongly felt need to read each and every word aloud, and rhythm that is seductive and sly.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading Don Gutteridge’s collection of poetry, Inundations, but the description I had read promised a visit back in time to Point Edward, Ontario where the poet lived as a boy. It made this collection one I did not want to miss out on. And I’m so glad I did. I’m sitting here, my mind still reeling from the exquisite mingling of sound and sense, motion and memories evoked by this most impressive collection. I can still feel the frosty air as Don and his friends challenge gravity and fly down the steep and snow-covered hills, and see his grandfather listening intently to his stories or performing feats of magic with small bits of wood and tools while his grandson watches. And then there’s that marvelous memory of his father, larger than life, performing skating moves that “left them all/breathless with applause/and cheers so loud/the Bridge above them shivered/in its rivets: he was living/his dream, an Icarus at the summit/and prince among his fellows.”
Each poem stands thus proudly in this collection, and I found myself mouthing the words, savoring the sounds and sense and the magic. Inundations is a stunning collection of poems, verses meant to be lingered over and savored, and read again and again, and it’s most highly recommended.
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