The Hidden Room: Collected Poems, Volume 2
`If not ``a shilling life'', a glance at Who's Who in Canada will give you all the facts. Which are more than impressive. P K Page, born in 1916 and very much with us is, in brief, a phenomenon; a force majeur in Canadian literary and artistic life; a National Treasure. Her work to date, sprung from the praiseworthy ambition of the lavishly gifted, bestows upon us rich decades of protean accomplishment, of widespread honour and renown. Let us however concern ourselves here with the essential fictions - with the beginning in delight and ending in wisdom, as Frost has it, of true poems; with this present testament of imaginative, intellectual and spiritual achievement: The Hidden Room: Collected Poems. `To immerse oneself in these two handsome volumes (elegantly complemented and informed throughout by the drawings and paintings of her ``twin sister, / beautiful as Euclid'', the painter P K Irwin) is to plunge into a deep-freighted, breaking wave of swirled delights and parlous undertows. It is, as with all such translucent ramparts of desire and abandon, best met head-on. This is not to say that one must read consecutively through the some four hundred and fifty pages of poetry and the one dangerous, liminal short story. The ordering of the volumes is credited to Stan Dragland, who ``tackled material spanning sixty years and threaded it together in a manner uniquely his own.'' While the overall drift is chronological, the poems have been so intelligently interwoven that each of the volumes is a realized entity, as each is a reflection of the whole.'
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