Up Country Lines

Up Country Lines

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Up Country Lines

C.H. Gervais

4 X 7 inches, 48 pages

'GERVAIS SHOWS HIMSELF TO BE A VIRTUOSO of free verse, long poems, anecdotal pieces, found poems, and imagistic poems—all handled equally well. The poetry is informed by a generosity for its subject.'

—Pier Giorgio di Cicco, Books in Canada

'Up Country Lines is a three-part, loosely connected narrative sequence set in northern Ontario. Parts of it remind one of A.J.M. Smith's The Lonely Land and Earle Birney's North of Superior. Like them, Gervais is aware of the powerful hold the north has on the Canadian imagination, and he is also aware of the basic alienation Canadian city dwellers feel toward the wilds. As Gervais puts it, "the north country" is "an image all / Canadians must keep at bay."'
Canadian Book Review Annual

The river is darker
than their eyes,
but even now
invites intruders
to its icy waters.
Cunning river!
Still frozen over!
A paradox for swimmers
who are stopped here
& made to take
mapped-out trails
across ice to Moose Factory.

The people, too, exchange darkness
for our curiosity,
but they are equally impenetrable,
opaque & unmoving,
but none is so inviolable
as the swift current
below the surface
wrapped in seclusion
from icy stares.
It sleeps now
in its own mystery
but only till breakup.

Moose River & its People


C.H. (Marty) Gervais


Marty Gervais was born in Windsor and grew up in Bracebridge. He received a BA from University of Guelph and an MA in creative writing from University of Windsor, where he studied under Morley Callaghan. The recipient of numerous journalism awards in his lengthy career as a journalist at The Windsor Star, and lauded for his book The Rumrunners, a history of Prohibition in Canada, Gervais has also won recognition for his creative writing. With Autobiographies he was runner-up in the Milton Acorn Memorial People's Poetry competition in 1989.

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