'By turns funny, elegiac, wry and tender, In John Updike's Room stands as a testament to a lifetime of dedication to the poet's craft, a book anyone could be proud to submit to posterity.' -- Lee Shedden The Calgary Herald 'His subject-matter is, for the most part, sad in character. A high percentage of the poems are either elegies, or set in churchyards, or commemorate the date. The dead may be relatives, personal friends, film celebrities, revered sports players, or simply victims of the accidents and tragedies of our age. But if the mood is often sobering, the poems themselves are accessible, accomplished, and therefore exhilarating. Wiseman is a master of lacrimae rerum, of the poetry of loss. All his poems bear testimony to a life lived to the full, telling of its joys (sometimes), its sorrows, and its timeless memories. Almost all of them ("Granddaughter, First Meeting" is a charming, eloquent exception) look back to the past, yet Wiseman displays the ability to write with deep feeling and to convey pathos without falling into a cloying sentimentality.' -- W J Keith Canadian Book Review Annual 'This is timeless writing with no hint of pretentiousness. Intensely human, about "ordinary life," it can be appreciated and cherished even by those who feel nervous when confronted with "the poetic".' -- W J Keith Canadian Book Review Annual 'It's this alternating tone, this multifaceted ability, that does a rare thing: the poems actually play off of one another. Too often I read poem after poem in collection after collection wherein no thought is paid to juxtaposition. Wiseman has this trick down cold. His poems can be menacing, they can be tender, they can be comic, they can be serious. Theme ricochets off of theme; and I suppose this effect must have been amplified in the individual collections themselves for it to be preserved in a Selected. Each of the poems, though, are similar in one respect: they take a premise -- be it the washer and dryer being lovers, be it the Dracula legend -- and expound upon it. They use their premises as a launching ground for insight. Often small insight -- Wiseman isn't a master of leaping logic, of transcendence -- that's perfectly suited to the little moments he creates in his poems, little vignettes.' -- Shane Neilson PoetryReviews.ca
About the Author
Born and educated in Britain, Christopher Wiseman came to Canada in 1969. He taught at the University of Calgary, where he founded the Creative Writing programme, until his retirement in 1997. His poetry, short fiction and critical writings have been published and broadcast extensively in Canada, Britain and the United States. His poetry has won two Province of Alberta Poetry Awards, the Poetry Prize from the Writers Guild of Alberta, the W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize and an Alberta Achievement Award for Excellence in the literary Arts. He has served on the Board of the Alberta Foundation for the Literary Arts, as President of the Writers Guild of Alberta, and as editor and poetry editor of both ARIEL and Dandelion. Christopher Wiseman lives in Calgary.