This is the third volume of poetry by Ron Charach, who is a psychiatrist in Toronto, Canada. Charach's poems evoke a wide array of experiences and topics, ranging from surreal dream poems to images of family vacations, from an adolescent biker ("White Laces") to medical imaging techniques ("MRI" and "The Use of Contrast to Study the Spine"). Charach's tone is generally light, frequently insightful, and often surprising.

While "healing" poems are scattered throughout the book, one section ("The Calling") focuses on images of Charach's medical specialty, psychiatry. In "Psychiatrists on the Subway" the poet imagines an off-duty psychiatrist who "sets his ears / on the night table / and prays for a night of long silence / from a God who prefers / to listen." In "Newton" he invites the reader to glimpse the professional life--but with a grain of salt--as he muses about a colleague who "gave so much Electro-Convulsive therapy / he wore wooden cufflinks and rubber-soled Wallabies."

"The Naked Physician" presents an image of a kind and gentle doctor whose failure to be a good husband and father "will be recorded in the final light." Other outstanding poems in this collection include "She Will No Longer Take Her Food," "Equipoise," "Someone Else's Fire," "Labour and Delivery," and "Past Wildflowers."


One of the chief characteristics of Ron Charach's poetry is the light, but incisive, way he approaches his subject. While he deals with serious topics, he does so in a refreshingly oblique manner, poking holes in the poetic balloons of earnestness and self-importance.

Charach also honors William Carlos Williams's famous dictum, "No ideas but in things." His poems are concrete and colloquial, avoiding generalizations and romantic insincerity. While he ranges through a variety of topics, this poet brings to each one a clinician's eye and a healer's compassion.



Place Published

Kingston, Ontario, Canada



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