By Thelma Poirier
Thelma Poirier writes of the land and its inhabitants – plant, animal, and human – in vivid and loving detail, with deep feeling and authenticity. In poetry that is spare, strong, and unsentimental, she describes the rancher’s life, a life lived on the land where work is hard and weather matters, a life that changes as the seasons change, a life of fixing fence and hunting strays, of round-ups and branding and shipping cattle to market, but also a life made memorable by the beauty of landscape and sky, of birds and beasts.
The section “New Orleans, Saskatchewan” adds an exotic touch as, on the strains of a mother’s bluesy music, readers are carried south from the Great Plains to Louisiana. In “The January File”, it’s the threat of the Gulf War that throws its foreboding shadow over ranch country. Finally in “Call This Place Home”, a section that reprises many of the currents flowing through the book, the narrator admits that it`s time to leave the ranch and the live she loved and longs for.
Thelma Poirier’s very spirit shares the fragility of the grasslands ecosystem and all its creatures, great and small.