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Maxine Tynes
Porter's Lake (N.S.), Pottersfield Press, 1991. 78pp, paper, $8.95
ISBN 0919001-70-X. CIP

Grades 4 and up/Ages 9 and up

Reviewed by donalee Moulton

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

One of poet Maxine Tynes' greatest strengths is her ability to make words dance, on the page and in person. Her fluid sense of movement brings an added dimension to her work that transcends the literal interpretation of the words themselves. This would seem to be an ideal attribute for writing for children, a genre that requires that words have more than meaning - they have life. It is not, however, an attribute of Save the World for Me, Tynes'first collection of poetry (and two stories) for children.

Rhymes frequently pose problems for poets. The rhyming word must not only make sense, it must sound like another word and help create a natural rhythm. All of these characteristics, unfortunately, arc lacking in many of the poems in this collection. They sound forced, at times; at other times they simply fall fiat, as in these two extracts:

I used to get the willies
whenever they came near -
those fat and skinny spiders
with eight legs everywhere.

I'm in a meany, greeny mood
feeling all bad; never good
'cause the greeny, meany grouchies
are here again.

Tynes must be given credit, however, for tackling subjects with substance. Her poem, "Is It Okay to Look?", about the questions young children have when they see a handicapped person, is particularly powerful and honest. But at other times the poet's attempt to deal with "serious" issues borders on preaching. It lacks the spark of creativ­ity that makes it both real and appeal­ing:

The NO word is for:
... friends who are not friends
who say
"Come on. Let's take that," in a
when they think no one is watching!

The NO word is for:
... friends who are not friends
who say
"Come on. Let's see what smoking
is like."

Save the World for Me tries; at mo­ments it even succeeds - to entertain, to educate, to dance. But the poet is always there in the words and that gets in the way of what the words are trying to do.

donalee Moulton, Halifax, N.S.
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