Inklings is divided into three sections. 'Part One: What Was' is centred around the poet's memories of Point Edward, Ontario. His opening poem, 'First Impression', presents a succe
Inklings is divided into three sections. 'Part One: What Was' is centred around the poet's memories of Point Edward, Ontario. His opening poem, 'First Impression', presents a succession of images of river, lake, lilacs and maples that transports the reader to that seminal moment in time where the poet's initial impression of the world was formed. The poems celebrating his early life in that small town are filled with images of boys and girls growing up together, chasing each other and the sun as they pass milestones and approach young adulthood, shimmering in the sunlight. 'Part Two: What Now' contains a celebration of family and friends, some departed, as in 'Nine Years: For Potsy: In Memoriam' where Gutteridge recounts the 'amber/afternoons we spent/on fairways and greens…summers at Cameron Lake spent with a deceased friend'. In 'Allure: Guelph 1960: For Anne', the contrasting visual images of the open—roofed VW, Anne's lemon yellow dress glowing in the sun, red hair floating in the breeze and sky blue eyes as she rolls up to where he?s waiting paints the scene vividly and indelibly in the reader's mind. In 'Puck: For Jeff', the poet paints the picture of a beloved son—in—law, a prankster with impish grin, a jack—in—the—pulpit, characterized by images of Shakespeare's Puck and the sound of Falstaff's hearty laughter which mingle in a man who 'swallow(s) the world in one/gulp'. Part Three is entitled 'Whatever', but hidden in that non—committal word is the title poem and an intensive look at the poetic spark underlying Gutteridge's work. His title work describes the genesis of a poem as 'a tingle/in the brain, a sprout abruptly/unbudded, the beginning/of a word or more precisely/its first singing syllable,/enticed towards a phrase,/and then by some urge/to say the unsayable,/the nub of a poem just/begun, and compelled/with a single—minded surge/to completion'. The reader finds himself blissfully swept up in the poet's tales of youthful adventures and his memories of Point Edward. The poetry sings. The implicit rhythm of his words, the images, colors, depictions of motion, sound—sense pairings, all working together smoothly and fluidly, seemingly defying the poet's declaration of inklings that spring of themselves, that urge themselves out onto the page, words that purr or rage written of themselves. Such seeming contradiction is just a part of the magic to be found within.
View Biographical note
Don Gutteridge is the author of more than forty books: poetry, fiction and scholarly works in educational theory and practice. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario, and raised in the nearby village of Point Edward. He graduated from Western University in 1960 with an Honours English degree, and taught high school English for seven years before moving to the Western Faculty of Education. He taught there for twenty—five years and is now Professor Emeritus. He lives in London, Ontario. In a review of his book The Way It Was, in The Western News, Kane Faucher said Gutteridge's poems have been "memorially 'lived in'" and "must negotiate a world with - and without - words…Both pleasant and haunting, we are treated to a world of velvet voices…in a memorial transfer from past to present, from present to beyond."