NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
DOUGLAS BARBOUR & SHEILA E MURPHY: CONTINUATIONS
University of Alberta Press
Ring House 2
Edmonton
Alberta
T6G 2E1
Canada
ISBN 0 88864 463 9
$19.95

visit the website of University of Alberta Press
read a review of other work by Sheila E Murphy
read a poem by Sheila E Murphy on Pickings
read a poem by Sheila E Murphy on The Aabye's Baby Archive

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DOUGLAS BARBOUR & SHEILA E MURPHY: CONTINUATIONS

The two poets who collaborated to produce this work are Douglas Barbour, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta, and Sheila E Murphy, who has written a number of poetry books. They were engaged in the creation of CONTINUATIONS from November 2000. The work incorporates aspects of the area in which they live Alberta and Phoenix, Arizona and aspects of their different communities are brought together.

I have to confess at the start that I never really "got into" this book. After several attempts, I found it was not for me. This is probably a reflection of my own taste as the quality is there. I have reviewed many longer pieces/books of lexical type poetry and there can be problems when commenting on written material that really lives in performance. At the back of the book, there is a short and interesting description of collaborative experimental works in America and Canada. In Britain, too, there have been many collaborative works, including the infamous collaborations in sound (ie the DAN series) between Bob Cobbing and Laurence Upton.

This book is a major undertaking by two competent poets. Douglas Barbour and Sheila E Murphy together tunnel into language. They extract all manner of obscure meaning:

	xix

	only how solitary that figure
	turned inward
	eyes bank / a carved
	and empty mouth winds
	whirl through . . sculpted
	morning moaning meant

	cold day carved by figure
	depending upon what other
	eyes see / sculpting' only
	history / an ill-defined version
	of outward / blanking out
	the inward truth in motion

	this morning / looking in a spoon 
	he noted that concavity reversed
	the image, while a convex view
	was straightforward / pressing
	code for the stretched spot
	of momentum signaling within
The above is the opening of section xix. Douglas Barbour and Sheila E Murphy love language and what it can do. Their work is laconistic and acrid in places, and aseptic in others. Barbour and Murphy have produced a type of homage to the word.

reviewer: Doreen King.