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The Deer Yard  

By Allan Cooper and Harry Thurston (Gaspereau)

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The exquisite craftsmanship of the words inside The Deer Yard match its beautiful exterior. The collection of 21 poems begins with an explanation of the format, which uses the Wang River Sequence as a model. Thurston, living in British Columbia, would write four lines and send them to Cooper, who, living in New Brunswick, would write the final four lines. Written over a winter, the season is obvious in the work. Filled with nature inspiration such as deer, fish, birds, trees and water, there’s still a distinctly human and fragile element to the poems, such as “First Snow, Mid-December” about a broken branch. My other personal favourites included “Kingfisher Creek,” “Brightly Coloured Coat” and “Winter Plum Blossoms.” A contemplative collection, The Deer Yard finds a quiet harmony in two distinct voices, ultimately combining to create something richer together---two halves of a whole, completed.

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