The Witness Ghost
by Tim Bowling
Shortlisted for the 2003 Governor General's Award for Poetry.
Book DescriptionThe Witness Ghost is Tim Bowling’s most unified collection of poems since his widely praised debut, Low Water Slack (Nightwood, 1995). Here, in an extended sequence of powerful elegies, he traces his feelings of loss, bewilderment and anger at the death of his father, a man who spent his working life as a salmon fisherman on British Columbia’s majestic Fraser River. Borne back into a past of old wharves, boats, nets and ripening blackberries, the poet enters into the lush west coast riverscape in an attempt to recapture Heck Bowling’s lingering spirit in all the complex human tangles of sorrow, joy, weariness and reverence. In his characteristic style of direct emotional statement mixed with startling imagery and metaphor, Bowling has written one of the most intense and loving statements to fatherhood in Canadian poetry, while at the same time extending his rapt immersion in the west coast’s mythic history and beauty.