The Red Fox. by BIII Howell, McClelland and Stewart. -7
Bill Howell is a Canadian poet from Halifax. His work has been seen in a number of Canadian magazines. As well as this, he joined the rostrum of block-busters in McClelland and Stewart’s Storm Warning (edited by Al Purdy ). The Red Fox is Howell’s firs_t book and in it he says: “There are three impossible themes to renderphysical love, physical pain and death. If you want to 4 find how good a poet is ldok at what he shows you about these. They’re all lashed to the study of the workings of the human heart which-is what writing is . all about.”
usually as he did within the safe confines of slimrelevance. What occurs is that he can’t maintain the strength he carries into the poem. In “One Armed Man” Howell falters at the ending and has to piece one together. Met him at the Ferry Wharf, from his sinister eyes I saw he’d been to sea ,and left at least behind his only right arm: home for good now. from the Ranks now punching tickets for Dominion Atlantic in his left behind hand way. before the everybody question came from my gut to my mouth I heard the answer in his face: nothing’s in-a name, but his face, a fifty-bucks-a-week the hard way face, while his eyes sang with the bitter salt of the sea, breaking on its ocean motion moving rock, breaking on its own image.
Despite the fact that a lot of what Howell says here isn’t original (Faulkner said it in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech) at least he keeps his promise for the most part in the book. Unfortunately Howell’s greatest gift to the reader is a youthful freshness uncommon in much modern poetry. Freshness and Everytime I’m by I buy an adolescent romanticism don’t necessarily make my ticket from this man, good poetry. This is a misconception-that ,a11 you give him a second hand, and have to do to write good poetry is chock ii full of face the feeling I’ve been feeling. You may as well chock it full of holes unless cheated. you add something else-which is relevance. Much undergraduate and some graduate poetry exists on Attempting an abstract landscape Howell again the premise that feelings make do. This is garbage. becomes poor man’s philosopher at the end of “Love Poetry is a form of ventriloquism. You speak in Song of the Spinster Spider” : another voice. Now anyone can speak in another voice even if its only silence. But try speaking through another medium. Writing to the writer is a Sleep, a craven image of itself, creeps glass of water or a balloon to the ventriloquist. If from your blood stream, not you’re good you speak in another voice through the the pain, just the memory particular medium. If not you bubble or the poem of the memory of the dream skitters across the floor groanin,g like a fart. Bill of the pain you remember. Howell speaks in ” young voice, sometimes a wise You stared up, back voice, occasionally a strange voice. Often Bill Howell against the hugeness bubbles and chokes. of the hole above you,... Hdwell’s poems of youth are for the most part well done. They are precise statements about precise incidents and so present a patch-work of his first 21 Remember’. Iyears. However Howell must know that relevance And then in the morning: ranks above freshness though both need the other to you wake up and discover survive. You’ve had explorers My argument with Howell begins with those flap in your bloodstream. notes I quoted. I think as he does that physical pain and love and also death are impossible to render. But You carefully search your body life is more important and contains them all. By to find out where confining himself so much with childhood, Howell you bled from has hindered the extent of his book’s relevance. Only sometime in the night. occasionally does he relate th/ese childhood experiences to mature experience. A child can tell you Whatever exists, only exists little enough about life. “Out of the mouths of babes” only continues is fine but find the person who has maintained his . when it continues, when you wake and find you’ve been childhood morality. dying again, is only dead When Howell eludes his obsession with childhood when you can’t find traces, is only traced and the entrapments therein he fares not as well when when
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Howell seems intrigued by these witty word twisters and uses them to a great extent or more precisely to no end. “Whether Report” makes me sick or close to it except for the last line which is a spark but sparks after the fires, soaked with ventriloquists, bubbling under glass, are quickly out.
Whether Report (The Fall of Quebec
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JENNIFER O’NEILL MJRENCE
“SUDDENLY, IT’S ALL ?OMORROW~ Based on the Novel by
DPUID SHABER Pr&uctim
It won’4 be long now before the leaves turn brown from green like the highway signs along the 401 from Toronto to Montreal, between two cities, a season, a winter no one wants a border..... WhY must my country always be my corner of my country?
The Red Fox is Bill Howell’s first book. I see what Al Purdy meant by Storm Warning. Bill Howell will get better but he will get wet first.
RenebTaylor*Joseph Bologna in a Wylde Films productton
Made For Each Other Directed
by Robert 9. Bean. Written by Rene6 Taylor and Joseph Bologna
Published on Nov 4, 2011
recommending an investigation into the feasability of im- plementing a liberal arts and science programme. Sub- sequently, he served on a se...