Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Gilbert describes his poems as ‘ghosts of old blues I knew.’ Although this implies a subjective element, very little of Gilbert’s own reflections enter into his poetry. Most of the work draws on his pre-reflective consciousness – on conversations he overhears, people, billboards, insects he sees. The few reflective passages are playful rather than analytical – a toying with etymology or rhyme – and reveal a mind more devoted to the surfaces of coincidence and with than to the extraction of meaning.  In fact, the term ‘meaning’ implies far more structure than Gilbert believes to exist in experience. To pursue such meaning, his poetry suggests, is to go beyond the properties of actuality – hence to create illusion, falsehood.
Gerry Gilbert has remained faithful to his concepts of experience and art since he emerged as a writer in Vancouver in the early sixties. Among Canadian writers, he has been a genuine rebel, totally unwilling to seek the attention of readers or the praise of critics by sacrifice of principle or style.
Frank Davey, From There to Here: A Guide to English Canadian Literature Since 1960 - 1974 ISBN 0-88878-936-2, p. 119.

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