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Canadian Press: They wrote the book on love
This collection of poems by literary luminaries such as Leonard Cohen, Al Purdy, Dorothy Livesay and Joy Kogawa was assembled by B.C. editor Tom Wayman as he was "recuperating from an emotionally painful rejection."

Although many people don't make room for poetry in their lives, Valentine's Day may be the perfect time for a reintroduction.

Love lends itself to a poetic turn of phrase perhaps better than any other subject matter. Take this, from Marilyn Bowering: "No bud is so delicate as your tongue tip. The sun has stopped. The moist rock breathes for you ..."

Or this, from Margaret Atwood: "I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen. I would like to watch you, sleeping. I would like to sleep with you, to enter your sleep as its smooth dark wave slides over my head."

Fifty of Canada's top writers are represented in these pages, along with an introduction by Wayman expressing the hope that the anthology will make the journey of love "more sure-footed, cheerful, exciting, successful."
-Canadian Press


Toronto Star: February 11, 2001
Love and poetry; isn't that the classic combination? "Let me count the ways . . ." British Columbia teacher and poet Tom Wayman is the editor behind a most timely and engaging little book, The Dominion Of Love: An Anthology Of Canadian Love Poems. The work of some 50 poets (25 men, 25 women) are represented here, from Atwood, Birney, Cohen and Purdy to lesser-known members of the poetic salon.

The lines that caught our eye, however maybe it's the February mood we're in, come from a man best known as a book publisher (including of this title), B.C.'s Howard White. From "The Made Bed," on the subject of the dampened fires of long-term relationships, post-children: "I stroke the curve of your morning hip/ under the remoteness of the cloth/ we never used to wear/ and it seems to me the/ miraculous innocence is still there/ although our love has become/ like an untended appletree/ whose fruit are fewer and smaller/ brilliant in their rarity/ but less than the leafy abundance/ that once was there."
-Toronto Star


Nelson Daily News: Who wrote the book of love?
Tom Wayman will tell you that if Canadians have cold extremities, they certainly have warm hearts. Dominion of Love: An Anthology of Canadian Love Poems, sets out to prove that Canadian passion is no oxymoron, and that love in a cold climate can be warmer than a parka in Iqaluit.

Edited by Wayman, Dominion of Love, which includes the poems of 50 Canadian poets, is set to strike Canadian bookstores like cupid's arrow this Valentine's day. It's a book of love that's long overdue.

Irving Layton's 1962 anthology, Love Where the Nights are Long was reprinted four times, and had its own love affair with the Canadian public before finally retiring to the literary sections of better libraries. For Dominion of Love, Wayman kept five of the original poets from Layton's book and added 45 more, with poets such as Margaret Atwood, Joy Kogawa, Michael Ondaatje, and Susan Musgrave snuggling up with Earl Birney, Leonard Cohen, and Al Purdy.

The book is released by Harbour Publishing, who agreed with Wayman that the time had come to warm things up a little.

"I suggested calling it Frost on the Condom," laughs Wayman. "Needless to say, they didn't go for that." But they did go for the concept, which Wayman began researching in 1997. He avoided demographics of geography or gender, because "art is not demographic in how it emerges."

Nevertheless, he was pleased when he tallied up his choices and found a pretty even split between men and women, a contrast to Layton's male-dominant anthology.

Wayman, a Slocan Valley resident, splits his time between writing and teaching. He has his own long-term love affair with poetry, with 14 collections published to date along with books of essays, and a play. Anthology editing is no one-night stand either; Wayman has edited four previous anthologies, primarily featuring labour-related poems, the genre for which he is best-known in his own writing.

This newest anthology is nonetheless a labour of love, and as he set about the unwieldy task of choosing and categorizing the poems of 50 poets, he was pleased at the way they arranged themselves into four sections - like chambers of the heart, one could say.

The first section looks at the steamy touch of first love; the second sees the shadowy side of the human need to love and be loved, while the third deals with long-term relationships. The fourth section speaks of love, language and expression.

"What we have here are 50 staggeringly wonderful poems," says Wayman. "Canadians can articulate passion in a very real way, ranking with any writers in the world."

In addition to their poetry, contributing poets to Dominion of Love were asked to respond to the question: are Canadians passionate people? The answers were as varied as the geography that many used as a reference point.

"Yes, we, go camping, don't we?" writes Marilyn Bowering. "You don't know if you love someone until you've slept next to them on the hard ground with the temperature near freezing. You can't really show your love unless you're willing to be the one to get up, light the fire, and bring a cup of hot tea to the beloved still in his or her sleeping bag."

Lionel Kearns writes: "The passion of Canadians resonates in the recurring literary image of a bull moose crashing through the moist underbrush in frenzied pursuit of his alluring but elusive mate. It's all in the genes."

"I think," writes Kirsten Emmott, "it has something to do with the feeling that there's still so much empty space out there, so many possibilities, always a new chance, for life or for love."

In the poems themselves, the landscape of love can be less concrete, passion subtle as a butterfly.

Margaret Atwood concludes "Variation on the Word Sleep" with the lines:

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that
unnoticed
& that necessary.

Wayman hopes that, in the tradition of romantic poets like Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, these contemporary poems will light a spark in the Canadian heart. "If the book works, people will enjoy it," says Wayman, "but if it really works they'll be moved to write their own poems."

In a world where violence in literature sells, Wayman likes the counterpoint The Dominion of Love provides.

"It's about people, caring about people. It's hard not to feel great about the human race after reading this book," he says.
-Anne Degrace, Nelson Daily News


Islander: Mating call of love and words
Tom Wayman has done a felicitous job of assembling love poems of 50 Canadian poets. The Dominion of Love includes famous works such as Leonard Cohen's You Have the Lovers, and it offers lesser known, but certainly not lesser poems.

Launched on Valentine's Day, this collection makes an ideal gift for lover or friend, as the poems celebrate the pleasure and wonder of love rather than dwell on its concomitant pain. In a highly personal and open introduction, Wayman lets us know that a broken heart led to the gathering of the poems. He ponders, and his thoughts are illuminating and provocative. This introduction is one I wish had been longer, even though I can see that Wayman wants the poems to be the focal point. With his own poetic eloquence, Wayman remarks: "The mystery of love alters its appearance as we comprehend more - just every other baffling aspect of our lives changes when we increase our understanding of it." The poems in this collection provide, argues Wayman, a kind of map of the mercurial landscape of love.

The poems are arranged in four self-explanatory sections: You Have the Lovers, In Darkness We Find Each Other, Running to Surrender, and Away with Words. Wayman's perspicuity and gentleness come through clearly in both his introduction and his selections. He acknowledges his debt to Irving Layton's 1962 collection of love poems, but is infinitely more kind in his remarks about writers in general than Layton. And Wayman's generosity in letting the poems and their makers speak for themselves places the emphasis on the communicative effect of words on an emotion that can frequently defy our attempts to articulate it.

Rummaging around in The Dominion of Love, poetry lovers will find many familar names, and a rather high number of them seem to be from B.C.: Marilyn Bowering, Kate Braid, Lorna Crozier, Leona Gom, Lydia Kwa, Zoe Landale, Patrick Lane, Charles Lillard, Patricia Young, John Lent and several others. For example, Patricia Young's The Adulterers explores the power of sensual love, betrayal and poetry, taking the reader into a seedy motel room and a teacher's office. Susan Musgrave's Meeting You Again also tells of poetry and loss, in which the speaker asks a lover to remember "how you stopped me/from speaking about the future back then,/as if any kind of love could fail." The poignancy of the moment when love feels immortal is heightened by the knowledge of its passing.

Lorna Crozier's This Is a Love Poem Without Restraint marries the page and the person in a rhapsodic swirl of verbal and physical touching. Dave Margoshes' Seasons of Lilac is a riot of sensory detail, and Howard White's The Made Bed delves into the compromise that a long-term relationship requires. Tom Wayman's The Kiss and the Cry is a blistering look at the messiness of love and love's ability to transform those it touches.

Don't wait for next Valentine's Day. Give someone you love a copy of The Dominion of Love. The topic is unbeatable, and the poetic performances become a mating call of love and words.
-Candace Fertile, Islander