Michael Dennis recently wrote an article for his “Today’s Book of Poetry” blog which focuses on Guernica poet Rosemary Clewes’ collection Paper Wings. Dennis praises Clewes’ ability to draw the reader in by referring to poems from the collection, such as “Shadows” and “Dawn Puddle on Lake Huron”. He states, “Clewes writes with a thorough clarity that has you instantly involved and invested in her narrative. These narratives travel, visit the arctic, fall in love, age graceful and curious”.
Clewes’ poems draw on her experiences as a kayaker, which also inspired two other books (Thule Explorer: Kayaking North of 77 Degrees and Once Houses Could Fly: Kayaking North of 79 Degrees). Dennis states that Clewes portrays the act of kayaking with careful poetic skill: “Clewes tells us ‘the geometry of light is incalculable” but that doesn’t stop her from showering her considerable light in calculated measures sure as a metronome. Today’s book of poetry was touched to my fragile heart by how Rosemary Clewes understood water from a kayak’s point of view. Kayaking is a relatively new experience for me but Clewes gives words to the most eloquent of my own imaginings in such a way that I am both jealous and grateful”.
Dennis concludes his review of Paper Wings by stating “Paper Wings is from Guernica Edition’s ‘Essential Poets’ series and Today’s book of poetry couldn’t agree more, every poetry collection should have some Clewes in it”. Dennis explains that Clewes poetry manages to remain wise and well-arranged in spite of the tenderness of its topics: “This is smart poetry by a witty and wise woman who sees the universe with optimism. There’s no sentimentalism in the Clewes canon but there sure is a lot of grace”.
Rosemary Clewes is a Toronto author who was nominated by The Malahat Review in 2005 for The National Magazine Awards, and was a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards in 2006. She has made seven trips to the Arctic, travelling by kayak, rift and icebreaker.
Paper Wings is a collection of poems in five parts, seen through the lens of history, geography, familial loss and celebration. Whether travelling by icebreaker, kayak or on foot, or weaving memory into new landscapes of the heart, these poems incline to the marvelous and metaphysical. Each asks in different ways the question: “Where is home?” The conclusion: Home is found within our selves and without, anywhere, anytime.