John Oughton

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 175

[In Giving Back Diamonds] Bowering does give diamonds back, moulded from the coal of her experience…. Bowering's lines are honed, her words deliberately and deceptively simple. Like her West-Coast colleague Susan Musgrave, Bowering is fascinated by elemental things—bones, blood, the pull of the grave—but she prefers a finesse where Musgrave would go for the grand slam. Bowering writes elliptically, sparely, from a sensibility that might serve as a model for the younger woman poet, both delicate and tough….

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The poems indeed have a logic of their own, mirroring and amplifying each part and then ringing changes before the echo sours. The best ones have the impact of a dream or fairy tale….

Occasionally she removes a bit too much of the connective tissue between idea and image, making the poem difficult for the reader to explore: the two serial poems "Mary Shelley" and "Sea Changes" suffer from this. But most of the single poems are, without flashy effects, singular. (p. 25)

John Oughton, "Three Graces," in Books in Canada, Vol. 12, No. 4, April, 1983, pp. 25-6.∗

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Bruce Whiteman