________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 17 . . . . April 25, 1997

image If Sarah Will Take Me.

Dave Bouchard. Paintings by Robb Terrence Dunfield.
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1997.
32 pp., paper, $l8.95.
ISBN 1-55143-081-9.

Subject Headings:
Dunfield, Robb Terrence, 1959- -Poetry.
Physically handicapped-Poetry.

Grade 12 and up / Ages 17 and up.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.

**** /4


If I could walk,
I'd walk down to the ocean
I'd kick off my sandals
And I'd walk on the sand.

I'd start in the morning
In the cool of the morning,
I'd walk through mid-day
When sand turns to coal.
You'd see me at sunset,
Alone on the beaches
Near a handful of lovers.
And I'd be walking on air.

And though I can't walk,
I can cherish the memories
Of sand in my toes,
Of my weight on the mud.

And If Sarah will take me,
I'll show you the place
Where I'd kick off my sandals
And walk on the sand.

Bouchard has a reputation for using innovative approaches that combine his poetry with art. His expertise has been demonstrated in past works including his bestseller, Voices of the Wild. In If Sarah Will Take Me, Bouchard continues this fine tradition by combining his distinctive poetry with a colourful and diverse selection of paintings by Robb Terrence Dunfield. image

      Bouchard met Dunfield, a popular motivational speaker, at a high school presentation seven years earlier. Dunfield's talk touched on many things including "the youthful sense of invincibility" that preceded an accident that left him a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic at the age of nineteen. It was this chance meeting that provided both the seed of inspiration for this book and the beginning of a very special friendship between Dunfield and Bouchard. Because of this association, the author was able to present a work of poetry that is inspirational and delivered with an incredible depth of emotion.

      If Sarah Will Take Me is a story of one man's acceptance of and adjustment to a life that turned out differently than he envisioned it to be. The work is also a tribute to Sarah, Dunfield's wife, who shares with him the everyday joys from nature appreciation to travel.

      Bouchard's writing combines a candid conversational style with artistic visually descriptive language. The dual delivery is a superb example of Bouchard's innovative approach. Bouchard brings to light Dunfield's message to embrace the joys of everyday. Dunfield's paintings, which beautifully complement the poetry while illustrating Bouchard's words, demonstrate his versatility as an artist and the influences of the "Group of Seven".

      If Sarah Will Take Me is a thought-provoking work of poetry and art. Bouchard proves poetry is not just delicately chosen words but a forum for learning, expression, and innovation. The book has merit both as a subject for academic study and also for the sheer joy of personal reward. A worthwhile addition to both school and public libraries.

Highly recommended.

Jo-Anne Mary Benson is a writer/reviewer for books, magazines, newspapers, and journals.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364