Articles & Reviews

George Elliott Clarke, "Bearing Witness", Books in Canada, Summer 1994

Stephen Morrissey's The Compass (Empyreal, 69 pages, $ 10 paper) is the first book in a projected "Shadow Trilogy" by the Montreal poet. These confessional, discursive poems are richly emotive, accumulating energy - like Richard Lemm's work - as their domestic dramas unfold. "Bitter Fruit," for example, wrings great power from apparent simplicity:

Salt on the white wound of the first
bite, that's how we ate green apples
as children. Blood where I'd cut my lip
soaked into the apple's white flesh.
Everything is bitter to me now.

Morrissey's poems build to their conclusions, which then open into larger associations. The talent demonstrated is like that of Yeats; Morrissey's lines of stainless steel gleam with a dangerous, piercing beauty.

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