What The Word On The Street Is Reading: Toronto Book Awards

This year, we are happy to welcome back our Toronto Book Awards bloggers, Christine and Carol Sweeton – our mother/daughter blogging team! They will be reading and reviewing the finalists for this year’s Toronto Book Awards, which will be awarded on October 9, 2013. To read more about Christine and Carol, click here.

This is the fourth post in the series. Today, they are reviewing Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report by Kevin Irie, published by Frontenac House Poetry.

ImageAbout the Book:

What is the place of an early 20th century landscape Canadian painter in the increasingly urban, multicultural world of 21st century Canada? Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report explores the possibilities in poems sometimes personal, sometimes public, in which this iconic painter emerges as a source of inspiration, intrigue, admiration, and ire. Technically, a minority report is a dissenting voice in a larger report agreed upon by the majority. The title plays with that concept with its many possible minorities — racial, generational and geographic.


Chris and Carol’s review:

Tom Thomson has become a familiar part of the Canadian identity: we think we know him, know his story, know his art. Kevin Irie’s collection of poems, Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report brings us closer to this cultural icon, while at the same time forcing us to acknowledge the distance that time and place puts between the painting and the viewer. Standing in a gallery gazing at one of Thompson’s amazing works, their colours so vivid that you can see the wind move those stylized trees and hear the water lap against a nearby canoe, however you can never truly prevent the feeling of the hard marble floor under your feet bringing you back to the true stark gallery environment. Many of the poems in the book play with conflicting emotions, values, eras, and more. A perfect read for any art lover used to the complexity that great beauty can bring. Irie’s poetry asks us hard questions and shows that true (patriot?) love cannot come without struggle.

Hear Kevin Irie read from Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report at the Toronto Book Awards Tent at 1:30pm and again at 5:30pm.



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