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2004 / Poetry / $18.95
9781894031837 / Trade paper / 64 pp
Gabriel's Wing is a poignant meditation on the sensation and manifestations of love and loss in the context of an other or afterworld. Sounds in one world resemble those in the other, hearts broken in this one reopen in the next. Allan Cooper goes beyond metaphoric comparisons, working to pinpoint the exact sensation and tactility of grief, moving emotion into the physical realm.
The poems are bound together with repeated images. Gardens, cells, light, wings and wind feature prominently and provide a landscape in which to ponder the nature of grieving. Running beneath this landscape is a logic that sets out to prove that while the price of love is indeed loss, the hope in loss is that it has been preceded by great love. As Sandra Barry wrote in a review of Cooper's work, "in an age when the ideas of beauty, love, generosity and reverence are considered old-fashioned, regarded as sentimental, Cooper enacts each with a gentle will."
Cooper has a knack for smudging the boundary between interior and exterior, without forsaking specificity and vividness in doing so. This collection is rich with movement and illumination as the shapes of past existences maintain their tangibility in the world that lives on.
This 5 x 8 3/4 inch book is a Smyth-sewn paperback with cover flaps. The cover is printed on Neenah Classic Crest/Classic Columns duplex stock, and features a reproduction of an intaglio print by New Brunswick artist Dan Steeves. The text was typeset in F.W. Goudy's Deepdene by Andrew Steeves and printed on Rolland Zephyr Laid paper.
Coopers poetry in this collection is not flashy nor is it busy with distracting constructions and irrelevant forms. The meditative and sometimes elegiac poems are served by clear, concise language that calmly trods the paths between this world and other worlds that impinge on ours in what Cooper calls the thin places. John Tyndall, Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine
In writing that successfully walks the tightrope of delicate beauty without faltering into precious, Cooper evokes a world that also needs balance and care. Sue MacLeod, Atlantic Books Today
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