Selected Poems, 1960–1980
UQP, 198 pp, $12.95, $5.95 pb.
Andrew Taylor’s Selected Poems opens with rain and a quote from Rilke’s first elegy, collects new poems from 1975–80, touches his The Cool Change (1960–70), Ice Fishing (1970–72), and The Invention of Fire (1973–75), and ends with an epilogue the final image of which is a night watchman whittling a wooden deify which ‘Glows like a storm lantern / burning all night’. It’s night and the poet has gone to bed and closed the shutters, and the nightwatchman of the subconscious gets to work.
Unlike Bonaventura ‘s Nightwatchman, Andrew Taylor’s search through the darkness of the subconscious produces more than a handful of paternal grave dust and the desolate cry of ‘nothing’ – his is a storm lantern’s light shining through the flux of the elemental powers and the committed belief in the restorative powers of art. The angel might be terrible, but it doesn’t destroy us.