Crossing Lines. Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era. Ed. by Allan Briestmaster and Steven Michael Berzensky. 256 pp. (Canada and U.S.) Hamilton: Seraphim Editions, 2008). $19.95; available from the publisher or from bookshops.
40 years after the pivotal year of 1968, 76 poets who came to Canada during the Vietnam War era collect their poems about the war and the decision that changed their lives.
Ellen’s poem “Vietnam, August 11, 1966” is the earliest-written poem in the collection. Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito wrote about this book:
Ellen Jaffe read: “ask a leg if it is civilian/ an arm if it is the enemy/ an eye if it is ours/.”
It still is. About these poets: for the most part, their accents have faded; they sound like us. No surprise. It’s been a long time. And it says here that they have made us better by their presence and their poems.