November 28, 2010

Seasons - Marianne Jones, artwork by Karen Reinikka

I have been looking forward to writing this review, though I should probably say that my review may not be completely unbiased - Marianne Jones is my friend's aunt and Karen Reinikka is her mother!

This collection of poems and watercolours began as a project to raise money for the Red Cross School Nutrition Program which provides healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to children and youth in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. Marianne Jones (who is a published poet in her own right) wrote 12 poems, covering the four seasons, and her sister Karen Reinikka painted 8 watercolours to illustrate the poems. I bought the "deluxe edition" that is bound in four separate volumes in a cloth-bound wrapper, however there is also a "chapbook" available with all of the poems and paintings in one volume. It is a very limited run, with only 26 copies of the deluxe edition printed (I have copy "K"), and 50 copies of the chapbook.

The poems are all short - many of them just a few lines - but beautifully evocative of this part of the world. A few well-chosen words can distill the essence of the feelings that the change of seasons bring. And the watercolour paintings compliment the poems seamlessly.

The books were designed, printed, and hand-bound by Chris and Laurie Wright of BookWrights Bindery in Red Rock (just east of Thunder Bay), friends of the Joneses and Reinikkas. The feel of the paper in the books is so delicate that my hands felt almost too rough to handle them.

As we are rapidly approaching the shortest day of the year, I want to end this post with one of my favourite poems from the Summer section. I can just picture the drive into town along Dog Lake Road, late on a summer night when the sun doesn't set until after 10.

A Little Night Music

Headlights illumine the yellow snake
splitting the road that leads home.
Above the road stars dance.
They dance to
the jazzy beat of the night.
Dipper twists and jives.
Roadside grasses sway ghostly.
They hear
the far-off song of the sky.
It's a long way
from earth to heaven,
a long way
to catch
those crazy constellations.

This counts as another book towards The Canadian Book Challenge at The Book Mine Set.


Wanda said...

Ohhh, I like that yellow snake splitting the road, cool imagery!

Kate said...

Wanda - that is the image that caught my imagination as well, right at the beginning of the poem.