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Kenneth Banks.

Pictou Island (NS), Lushino Press, c1983.
Distributed by Lushino Press, Pictou Island, NS, BOK 1JO.
unpaged, paper, $6.00.
ISBN 0-9691351-0-6.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Sharon Singer.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

Kenneth Banks, author of several volumes of poetry prior to The Tyrian Veil and also published in The Canadian Review and The Poets of Prince Edward Island,* has had his verse "branded" according to the back cover of this slim volume as "Neo-Romantic, Post-Modernistic and Nihilistic." This volume does not disprove these appellations. On the contrary, the themes of love lost, love eternal, love's pain, love's incorruptibility superimposed on the natural world (the sea, the sky, moonlight, clouds), the classical allusions, the personal emotional evocative quality of the verse, all stem solidly from the romantic tradition of Shelley and Keats.

In form also the poetry warbles in a traditional sphere, rhyming quatrains, couplets and triplets, usually in a four stanza verse. In contrast to a key element of twentieth-century verse, Banks's poems consist of emotions writ large in nature, rather than the introspective psychological threads that have permeated modern works. In coaxing a young paramour to brave the night's mysteries, "Let's steal our way toward the park/ where the wild gold of autumn weaves/ the liberated shadows after dark. . . ," Banks projects his love into nature making it his ally and warning of "the winter's sirens wailing near. . . ," to reinforce the urgency of love in youth before old age diminishes the possibilities.

The classical references that fill the volume could be the basis of a research project, to find their source in the original myths and history, and decipher them in the poems; such words as "Tyrian," "Terragona," "Seneca," "Herculean," "Idriss," and 'Tetros" often have more than one meaning.

The poetry is beautiful read aloud, filled with alliteration, strong rhythms, and rhyming patterns, but the overall content never reaches an apotheosis, never leaves the reader truly satisfied.

These poems could be used as extracurricular reading for advanced students, in upper level high school grades, but is not recommended for course inclusion.

*Reviewed vol. IX/3 1981 p.194.

Sharon Singer, Toronto, ON.
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