Strong and Free

In Brian T.W. Way’s redirection, you will find a collection of poems accessible to every reader. Way’s comfort and fluidity in many poetic styles, tones, and voices makes for a volume with variety enough to satisfy even the hungriest of poetic appetites. His poems are easily readable, honest, sometimes cutting, with resonant themes on the subject of human experience and existence. Through his skillful use of conversational language, you can almost hear Way narrating through the stanzas, as if reading to you from beyond the page. Here is a man of many voices, diverse stories, and eclectic styles, replete with allusions to “the Greats” – William Carlos Williams, e e cummings, Renoir, and Al Purdy.

redirection is a raw and uncensored journey through memory, national and family histories, and confrontation with loss, among many things. Often with tongue planted firmly in cheek, Way’s writing embraces all forms of experience, never quelling the potential discomfort of his readers with platitudes. The placement of the words on the page often come across as important as the words themselves and Way conjures evocative imagery in both rhyme and free verse, specked with the occasional haiku and shape poem. Of course, the piece de resistance is a form of poetry innovated by Way himself — a Canadian form of the sonnet, which heretofore had not existed next to its Italian and English counterparts. With his self-effacing sense of humour shining through, Way structures the prime sonnets (dedicated to his dog, Melville) in three parts — the first a presentation of an issue or scene, the second offering “an opposing or differing point of view” and the third, sitting on the fence, creating what Way describes as “what might be our true sonnet strong and free.”

- Hannah Renglich