Reviews and News

news: Duet for Wings and Earth

June 2009
Winner(tie), The Word Guild 2009 Awards, in the category “Book, Special.”

Reviews: Duet for Wings and Earth

Barbara Colebrook Peace humanizes the myth upon which much of western literature is based…each character leaps to life with startling reality…Peace infuses the old story—Christ’s birth, life and death—with new vigour, making each character, even God, speak with a human voice.
—Bronwen Welch, Times-Colonist, Victoria

Virtually everyone knows—whether through their faith, cultural osmosis, or from Charlie Brown Christmas specials—the story of the Annunciation, and Jesus’ eventual birth in a stable. But likely very few people have imagined it in the variety of voices presented here...Duet for Wings and Earth humanizes the creation story and narrative of Jesus by allowing us to see into God’s mind and thoughts. Colebrook Peace also considers the internal in terms of the deepest, smallest matter and energy at the heart of all things. The final word of the collection is simply “magnify.” Colebrook Peace has done just that: providing us a closer view of our place in the universe.
—Amy Reiswig, The Malahat Review

Barbara Colebrook Peace’s work arises out of a deep and sensitive acquaintance with the Christian story. To read these poems in sequence is to follow the stages of Mary’s life...Again and again as one reads these poems one is aware that something is being said that is larger than the subject being dealt with.
—Herbert O’Driscoll, Anglican Journal, Diocese of B.C.

Music informs her poems with the gentle resonance of belief.
—Linda Rogers, Pacific Rim Review of Books

With beautiful imagery, the familiar events and characters of the first century are given a contemporary twist with a timeless quality. We hear the musings of God, the animals, Joseph, Mary, and others in an intimate portrait of their thoughts and feelings. The following lines from one of the “Songs of Mary” “....and the song / I’ve been singing all my life / is a song about stretching / to enlarge my idea of you, and even / my idea of me” aptly describe the effect the poetry has on the reader as they stretch with fresh new ideas and images of the profound love of God for his cosmos and our humanness in it.
—Beth Street, Church Newsletter and Church Librarians Newsletter


reviews: Kyrie

Kyrie, from Barbara Colebrook Peace, is an admirable debut collection, splicing Biblican profundity with the tenderly-observed ordinariness of daily life...Poems such as “Twenty Questions,” “Gargoyle Villanelle” and especially the last poem in the book, “Jesus in the Nursing Home,” are stunning...One feels the pull between past and future, loyalty and guilt, and indeed, the lyric and a more experimental writing, and, not despite but because of these tensions, these are beautiful and compassionate poems.
—Miranda Pearson, Event

P. K. Page writes that Peace’s “unsentimental voice” gives us “a compassionate map of her country.” Her country includes England, where she was raised, and now Canada, where she lives in Victoria; but it also spans the mythic country of the full range of her experience of sorrow, loss and longing...These poems sing…they do manage magnificently to talk to God.
—Julia Reibetanz, University of Toronto Quarterly

The poet’s strength lies in the way she pays close attention to the vulnerabilities of the body, not only to time and age, but also to forms of spiritual and emotional deprivation… eschewing sentimentalization while remaining direct and compassionate...[makes] these maternal elegies both audacious and strangely comforting. Kyrie is an auspicious first book. Colebrook Peace’s lyric attention to the aging body dovetails with her invocation of the mythical figures to stasis and metamorphosis.
—Tanis MacDonald, Other Voices


In Barbara’s work, I hear the pauses so significant in writing and music, and the humanity essential to writing that transcends the ordinary. True to her last name, her poetry leads us to the peace at the centre.
—Linda Rogers, Introduction to Breaking the Surface (Poetry Anthology)




The [Guernica] Writers Series is a timely, stylish, substantive and, in several instances, an indispensable source of commentary on key figures in Canadian writing…One of the most successful of these adventures in editing is P.K. Page: Essays on Her Works, by Linda Rogers and Barbara Colebrook Peace.... Through the blending of voices and genres (Margaret Atwood and Rogers, for example, contribute poems), the layering and counterpoint of various forms of passionate attention, this title constitutes both a celebration of a major poet’s long career of achievement and that most useful of things in the criticism of poetry especially: an abundant source of original insight into how (as opposed to what) the work means.
—Robert Moore, Books in Canada