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Review of MY MOTHER DID NOT TELL STORIES

April 25, 2013

I’m very pleased now to present a review of My Mother Did Not Tell Stories by my writing colleague and friend, Donna Sinclair. Donna is a respected journalist and published author of numerous books. Her most recent works are The Long View (Northstone), a year of personal essays, and Tommy’s Angel (Copperhouse), a picture book for children (with illustrator Bill Kimber). I have especially enjoyed A Woman’s Book of Days, I and II, which offer a year’s worth of wit and wisdom, both political and spiritual, in daily meditations delivered from a distinctly feminine perspective.

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My favourite segment of Laurie Kruk’s lovely collection is in the middle, the River Valley Poems. These are simultaneously the stories of one woman (not overly skilled in bush craft) encountering nature; an illumination of two solitudes (her anglophone family’s newly-purchased cabin is in francophone country); and insights into mother love, leavened with love of the land.

There’s more, of course. Kruk knows how to pack every phrase with meaning. We can read one poem as feminist commentary if we like; another as a passionate but subtle critique of our civilization’s eternal dependency on plastic garbage bags. Kruk brings new life to Robert Frosts’s dictum that poetry should say one thing and mean another.

Kruk is articulate, earthy, amused, and respectful. Read “Ritual of the Mass” and be at once entertained and inspired. Really.  This is affection (in the face of some olfactory difficulties) for all that is meant by living fully in the body, coupled with gratitude for life itself.

Indeed, her poetry is witty in the traditional sense: a collision of ideas that  compel new insight, a gust of laughter, an echo that returns throughout the day.

Laurie Kruk’s mother may not have told stories. But anyone who picks up this brilliant book will be grateful that her daughter does.

Donna Sinclair, author and journalist

donnasinc@ontera.net

April 24, 2013 

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