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Reviews | Reviews | Janice Irving

Compendium, review by Janice Irving, The Capilano Courier

"If hearts were made of stone
love would endure."

                    —Carolyn Zonailo,
                    'Zen Stone Garden',

     Sensual. Spiritual. Rhythmic. Earthy. Carolyn Zonailo.

     If there were a common link that covers all this Vancouver poet's work, it would be its simplicity. Even readers unversed in subtle poetic styles will find Zonailo refreshingly clear, unlike many of the more obscure styles adopted by modern poets.

     She writes of the sensual in everyday life, of the link between nature and the unseen, of the grief of losing a loved-one for days or a lifetime. She writes about relationships. All of them. She writes about men and women, women and nature, people facing the mystical within themselves and their environment.

     Zonailo has seven books currently in print (available at Aerial and Octopus books). Zone 5, published in 1978, follows her experiences while traveling in Greece. It is also the chronicle of a deteriorating relationship. Split Rock is about grief, not the whole book, just some of the best poems.

     Compendium, Zonailo's latest, is also her best. It includes many of her best poems from her other previous six books, as well as some new ones. As in all of her books, Compendium's style of writing is consistent within the whole book. Her poems are stark, tight and powerful. She gets her message across.

     The poems in her earlier works tend to be longer, with different, but not contrasting images in each poem. What makes her poetry speak as powerfully as it does is her humanity shining through the words to give the simple messages contained in life—pain, joy, love, grief and desire.

     Zonailo is also the author of A Portrait of Paradise, The Wide and Arable Land, Auto-da-fe and Inside Passage. She has also contributed to countless magazines and periodicals.

Copyright by Janice Irving:, 2004. | Reviews | Janice Irving
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Over the years of sitting in Grant's Cafe or the Europa and talking poetry with Lewis Gretsinger, the questions have been asked: why write? what are you saying? what are your poetics?
Last Will and Testament
I give my soul to God.
I give my body to the earth.
I give my poems to posterity.
I give my spirit to tolerance.
I give my mind to the future.
Forthcoming Titles
The Land of Motionless ChildhoodThe Land of Motionless Childhood is a memoir of short stories by Carolyn Zonailo about growing up in Vancouver, and her Doukhobor heritage.
Photo Gallery
CZPictures of CZ from her 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Literary Papers
Spanning the years 1955 to 2005, the Carolyn Zonailo Papers holds, as nearly as possible, a currently complete collection of Zonailo's extant literary papers.
CZ Go to the Top of the Page.
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