Paper Reunion: An Anthology of Phoenix:
A Poet’s Workshop (1976 – 1986)
Edited by Sharon Berg & Julie McNeill.
Big Pond Rumours Press. 2016
Reviewed by Kara Ghobhainn Smith
Paper Reunion is a rich eye-catching anthology of poems and narratives
from Ontario’s seasoned writers, and well-worth a trip down Ontario’s
literary lane. Big Pond Rumours Press editor, Sharon Berg, of Sarnia,
has assembled a cast of writers out of the well-known Phoenix Work
shop. Berg’s own glittery lines and sexual graveyard of automobiles
evoke Ontario’s James Reaney’s ‘cars with ruby red behinds’:
Similarly, Marja Jacobs’ ‘Fifty-five socks’ (p.24) is one of several working narratives, and this one, I thought, was particularly appropriate at Christmas, and in this world of global migration. It captures beautifully the incredible resilience of newcomers over poverty. Set in rural war-time Ontario, the ballad details a mother re-knitting, and then selling, her bridal bedspread into 55 socks to sell for wheat and eggs, all that her family must live off of for the Winter months in her new country. This poem alone could be Ontario’s, “Gift of the Magi”.