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Raymond Souster.
Ottawa, ON: Oberon Press, 1985.
89pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88750-580-5. CIP.

Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up

Reviewed by Caroline Young.

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

The Flight of the Roller Coaster is a book-length collection of Raymond Souster's poems. Although Raymond Souster is one of Canada's best known poets, these poems have been selected by Richard Woollatt specifically for younger readers. The subjects such as "Adventures," "Birds & Animals," "Different Cultures, Different Lives," and "The World of Sports" have special appeal for this age group. The poems encompass the universal themes of innocence, joy, love, and anger. Their magical lyrics awaken these mature emotions in adolescents with their profound simplicity.

Souster's poetry evokes feelings of sensitivity and compassion over aspects of everyday life often take for granted in the hectic pace of daily living. Poems titled "The End of February," "The Worm," and "Kite" exemplify such clarity of vision. Souster has a special gift for unlocking the reader's imagination with the powerful images he expresses in clear, concise language. A good example is the poem "Journey."
Single drops of water
with a shine of white
take the ski-tow slide
down the day's rusty clothesline.

Souster reaches out to touch forgotten memories surrounding both people and events. Although the setting for many of these poems is Souster's home, Toronto, for example, "Lagoons," "Hanlan's Point," "Riverdale Zoo," or "OId Man on Bay Street," the poems create realities for every reader. No reader can fail to recognize the "OId Man On Bay Street."
a lonely lonely man
in a crowd of hundreds,
a leper with untouchable
face, hands, mouth, arms,
rotting slowly with age,
lost to all human warmth,
touch of one friendly voice.

In his poems on nature and its creatures, Souster weaves a serene strength of being in tremendous harmony with these elements.

The poems are printed clearly on heavy stock paper without illustrations, thereby freeing the mind's eye to conjure up the beauty the images evoke. The Flight of the Roller Coaster deserves a special place in the hearts and minds of young readers to revive those human emotions all too often neglected in their relationships with tools and technology.

Caroline Young, Toronto, ON.
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