Foreign Homes by Joan Crate
Reviewed by (VueWeekly, January 2 - January 8, 2003)
In 1989, Red Deer resident Joan crate published both her celebrated first collection of poems Pale as Real Ladies: Poems for Pauline Johnson, and her first novel, Breathing Water. Her latest poetry collection, Foreign Homes, combines exquisite control of image and diction with scorching energy, whether interrogating her family history or recovering the inner life of Shawnandithit, the last Beothuk: “So what/ever happened to you?/What whippet-bodied boy eating up the track/ on sport’s day is your kid? ... What landlord do you owe two months rent? /Who’s the poor bugger working his ass off to keep you in smokes and VLTs.” Steel-hammering lines give way to light, compassionate footfalls in poems full of surprise and brilliance.