by Tom Wayman
Winner: Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry (2013)
Book DescriptionTom Wayman’s newest collection of poems, Dirty Snow, unflinchingly considers the impact of the Afghan War: its absence and presence in Canadians’ everyday lives as citizens of a nation at war. The collection explores Wayman’s view that Canada’s military intervention in a civil war between two odious sets of combatants has degraded Canadians’ quality of life by, among other means, the conflict’s relentless absorption of public funds in pursuit of dubious ends.
Wayman is also concerned with echoes of the Afghan War in the personal sphere, particularly the war’s effect on the natural world in the mountain valleys of southeastern BC where the author makes his home.
Dirty Snow reveals how life in wartime taints our perception of the landscape, and how the natural cycles provide solace despite the moral and economic quagmires in which the inhabitants of the twenty-first century are attempting to conduct their lives.
From the drone of bagpipes on Kandahar Airfield to jet bombers dropping Canadian schools and hospitals on far-flung Afghan villages, Wayman is a master of potent imagery, approaching his subject with a voice that is passionate and dark, all interwoven with prose introductions, allowing readers the sense that they are present at one of Wayman’s engaging public readings.