Review of John Pass’ FORECAST

Forecast: Selected Early Poems (1970-1990)
John Pass. Harbour Publishing, $18.95 paperback (144p) ISBN: 978-1-55017-731-2

Quoting “The Embankment” from Forecast, the latest collection from West Coast poet John Pass, “something, neither profit / nor recreation, keeps me at it.” you get the sense that the poet toils at his craft for the sake of collecting and sharing his outlook in the ever-changing world the poet has witnessed. With his wife, writer Theresa Kishkan, Pass lives on 8.5 acres of forest, garden and orchard near Sakinaw Lake on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, where they built a house, have raised three children, and run High Ground Press, specializing in the letterpress printing and publication of poetry broadsheets. Pass, who recently won the 2016 Open Season Award for Poetry from The Malahat Review,
has published nineteen volumes (books and chapbooks) and his poems have been anthologized in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic. Spanning twenty years, Forecast: Selected early poems 1970-1990 culls out-of-print poems from dozens of sources. Love, memory, family, domesticity and intimacy are landmarks that emerge in Forecast, which operates like a greatest hits collection of sorts – if that is even possible for
a poet. Forecast is a bit of a mix, from the playful, dense and inventive to narrative poems that rely on the poet’s own personal makeup to convey an emotional wave to the reader. Most of the poems live in the realm of the lyric, showcasing a confluence of form and pathos. Using the intensity of the elegiac tone with playful language, Pass’s work over the years has watched his children and himself age, has seen buildings and relationships strengthen – such as those tenderly rendered about his wife. There’s a true backyard glory to Pass’s work, as if he’s talking to you about things you have seen, are about to see, in a vast world full of endless detail and wonder. (October 2015)

Forecast HERE.

Reviewer bio: Jenny Simpson is a freelance writer and poet from Nova Scotia, Canada. Her work has appeared in Paper Darts, and is forthcoming in Nova. She lives with her boyfriend and two dogs named Glacier and Bear.