On the day that David Waltner-Toews’ young daughter Rebecca gave “Mr. Fluff, that venerable stuffed dog” to her older brother, the poet learned a lesson in community building — to get what you really want you must give it away and then share it back.
There is nothing didactic about The Fat Lady Struck Dumb, though the book is packed with wisdom compacted of love for the planet and detailed knowledge of its ecosystems, including the stress they currently suffer. These are passionate poems of a committed citizen ardently testifying for the globe, his home and ours. One of his recurrent techniques is the catalogue in which layers of global being are rounded. Waltner-Toews is a scientist by education and occupation. He understands better than most our tenuous place in the web of being. His poems are organisms rooted in that knowledge, gifts of language bound to call out of his readers a passionate return in kind.