We’re pleased to present three glowing reviews of Laurence Hutchman’s recent book of poetry The House of Shifting Time.
“I’ve followed the career of Laurence Hutchman through many books and years. It is gratifying to see that he’s lost none of his expressive genius. What I’m always struck with in his work is his ability to mine his past, present, family, family history, travels, and musings for their poetic power and truth. He is deceptively nuanced poet as well, enticing the reader with what seems like the descriptive commonplace and then astonishing with a word choice, image, or turn of phrase. He never disappoints.”
Paul Hedeen on Goodreads
What I’ve observed about Laurence Hutchman‘s poetry, including his new book, The House of Shifting Time (Black Moss Press, 2019), is that his work is getting better and better; this isn’t necessarily the case with other poets who begin with talent and ambition and end with self-parody. This is, for me, Laurence’s best work so far. Laurence is a real Ontario poet, and while his 23 years living in New Brunswick are important it is best for him that he returned to his roots in Ontario; that’s where you’ll find his poetic or psychic center. In fact, he reminds me of Gord Downie, not in what he writes but in something more subjective and visceral; his sensibility as a poet is in Ontario. I remember the first time I met Laurence, it was in 1974 or ’75 when I was in the faculty room in the Arts Building at McGill and there was Louis Dudek editing Laurence’s first book with Laurence. I believe that poets need to commit to a locality, not necessarily where they were born, but to a place that best represents their inner being and their authentic voice as poets. Time may be shifting but the house or place stays the same.
Stephen Morrissey on Facebook
Laurence, Besides having one of your best book-titles ever, your new collection includes some of your strongest poems, definite candidates for a future second Selected. “Fox Playing in the Early Twilight” is a delightful twilight poem (one thinks of your first book, The Twilight Kingdom), its ending perfect. “Opa’s Zuider Zee Painting” is a welcome addition to your body of World War II poems; and “Travel,” with its Wordsworthian final line, joins your earlier memorable poems of childhood recalled decades later. “Antiques in Spring Light” and “Walking through Odell Park…” belong among your best New Brunswick poems; the ending of the latter is a fearless, tough-to-achieve yet earned surprise. My favourite among the Irish poems is “On the Quay,” written with Nowlanesque concentration, clarity and suggestiveness. Very pleasing to re-experience “Algonquin Logger’s Chute,” an outstanding poem in The Fiddlehead issue where it first appeared. “Marriage is a House”: another vivid family/home piece, with an appealingly humorous ending. “The Night Has a Clear Sanity About It”: you write about twilight and night so atmospherically….. Thanks for the many joys of reading your recent work.
Brian Bartlett on Facebook