A review of
by Mary Dalton
Can you find Newfoundland on a map? Canadians can; poetry readers from points south ought to learn. This wildest and easternmost of Atlantic Canada’s provinces, its coast-hugging culture dependent on fishing and shipping, has had its own form of English for centuries (see the amazing Dictionary of Newfoundland English). That coast and its culture now have a living poet worthy of their rough pride. Mary Dalton became semifamous in Canada for Merrybegot (2003), its crackling poems written all in Newfoundland dialect, full of rasping proverbs, unfamiliar nouns, and harsh weather. This bigger sequel uses (mostly) Standard English, and it’s as likely to depict uneasy students in the province’s schools, or taxi drivers in the capital of St. John’s, as to portray village fishermen and midwives.
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