By Janet Fraser
Janet Fraser’s vivid and passionate collection of poetry, Long Girl Leaning into the Wind, presents characters who do not settle easily into their lives. Fromthe opening portraits of ‘alien’ June and ‘flying’ Ginger to the closing “Poem for a Star-Crossed Boy,” Fraser reveals a deep empathy for the colourful misfits she portrays in language that varies from tightly controlled lyrics to sprawling narratives bursting with strong emtion.
These are the poems of a modern romantic with a gritty curiosity about the world and a commitment to report back honestly on what she sees and experiences. Physical landscapes range from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean to the Pacific, fromthe Saint John River to the Rhine River, from isolated outports to the core of large cities, fromthe traditional world of a beloved cottage to the existential world of airports, airplanes, hotels, and Greyhound buses. Emotional landscapes vary from the darkness of betrayal and violence to the dappled atmosphere of lost innocence and love to the light of natural beauty and parental affection.
With joy, grief, anger and wit, as well as a great love of the descriptive and oral powers of language, the poet comes to a kind of crossroads in this collection, looking both ways before moving forward.