Articles & Reviews

Review Mirrors on Uncertain Mornings by Grant Johnston

Mirrors on Uncertain Mornings
Grant Johnston
Vancouver. Talonbooks, 1988
53 pages

Review By Stephen Morrissey

The poetry in Grant Johnston's Mirrors on Uncertain Mornings is simple and direct; his writing is concise, yet there is a definite music to his language. In "Fisherman" we get an example of the rhythm of Johnston's poetry, as well as an idea of one of his passions, the coastal life of Nova Scotia:

the river's low and salmon few
stooped and arm-weary
endlessly he casts endlessly
while it numbs him through
and through

Another of Johnston's themes is love, not an easy or sentimental love, but one in which two people come together with their accumulated and sometimes conflicting experiences. In "The Loft" he writes:

often at night
i leave the red door
open to my loft
knowing the wind will rattle it
hoping the wind
is you

It is in awareness of the self's isolation that many poets find their inspiration. It is here, at well, that Johnston's maturity as a poet makes itself evident. There are also moments of transcending self-consciousness. For instance, the following untitled poem:

the autumn wind exposed
a nest i'd heard
though never seen

The serious reader will find in Johnston's book poems that can stand repeated readings without the intervention of boredom. This is a slim book, but a satisfying one. Quite simply, it is one of the few books of poetry I've read this year that I plan to reread in the future.

Copyright © 2007 The author