The Wide Arable Land,
review by Len Gasparini, The Vancouver Sun
Caitlin Press of Vancouver has just released three new
books of poetry—all modestly priced and with an attractive
The title of Carolyn Zonailo book
The Wide Arable Land is apt in view of the poetry she
writes. The phrase is taken from John Keats, but the image is
very much a part of Zonailo's poetic landscape: soft, loamy, and
full of possibilities.
Flower imagery abounds in her work,
and there is something almost allegorical about the way she describes
the experience of living, as if emotions and incidents were omens
in themselves; and perhaps they are.
Her vision is religious in a crudely
pantheistic sense. Growth, fruition and decay are the only realities
beyond our human system of arbitrary values. This is what Zonailo's
intensely lyrical poetry is saying to us, and she brings it off
The Wide Arable Land is
divided into six sections, and the sequence entitled “Journey
to the Sibyl” is undoubtedly the most interesting and experimental.
It reminds one of a Debussy prelude: "there's a moment of
flowers/ the bird-woman building a nest/ called love.... she uses
my bones to build her nest..."
There are many notable poems in
this collection, and only a few require further pruning. It's
obvious that Zonailo has cultivated her land with imagination
Copyright by Len Gasparini: www.carolynzonailo.com,