Aphrodite By John Heath; Ryerson Poetry Chapbook Series published by Ronald P. Frye and Co, Book Publishers, Toronto Canada. Poems by Twentieth Century Canadian poets, Cover art by Amy Funk.
JohnHeath was born in England in 1917, but came to Canada when he was three. he was brought up on a Saskatchewan farm, and educated in Saskatchewan schools and at the University of Saskatchewan. He joined the army when war broke out, had a very distinguished war record (M.C. and bar), continued his studies at the University of Toronto after the war, taught English literature for two years in the University of Alberta, but then rejoined the army, and was killed in Korea in 1951.
This is a brief outline of the tragically short life of a man who might have made a very substantial contribution to Canadian poetry. He began to contribute to periodicals in 1948, and some of the poems in this little volume were first published in Contemporary Verse and Northern Review, the two magazines in which much of the best Canadian poetry of the past fifteen years or so was first printed.
Although the major poetic influences can clearly be detected in these poems, it is also evident that the man who speaks here was in the process of fashioning a very individual instrument for himself. The voice we hear is often ironic and satiric (“Toronto Sunday” and “Fun Fair” for example), but can become, in such a poem as “Aphrodite,” sensuous, but sensuous in a rather austere way, and reaches finally, in “The Days Go By Like A Shadows on the Heart,” an emotional intensity which makes this poem, for me at least, the most moving piece John Heath wrote during his brief poetic career…”
-from the introduction by Henry Kriesel
Featuring cover artwork by Amy Funk.