Quill and Quire

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Going Around with Bachelors

by Agnes Walsh

St. John’s poet laureate Agnes Walsh is also an actor, a playwright, and a storyteller. Appropriately for an author with such a background, her second collection is accompanied by a CD. The disc was not made available to this reviewer, which is unfortunate – I got the sense that there was a dimension missing from these poems, prose vignettes, and family memoirs. Many of them seem to be scores for a specific speaker’s voice that, flatly unmusical and almost completely free of poetic figures and devices, don’t perform themselves well on the page. This isn’t true of all the pieces in Walsh’s book, fortunately;
in some, the story has enough drama or humour to be memorable, and in others the writing is more torqued and textured. On the whole, though it’s an uneven and somewhat unfocused gathering.