Volume 91, Issue 44

Friday, November 14, 1997

calling wood


Not just for breakfast anymore

Ursula Hogg-Reave, Susan Bailey and D.M.R. Bentley, Eds.
Canadian Press Poetry
$15.00 / 157 pps.

Oh, the pig is a gent, on mischief oft bent,
To take him all through he's a corker,
But we will repent and lose many a cent
If we ever go back on the porker.

– "Piggy," Mrs. Walter Buchanan

The latest 'snorton' critical edition to hit the shelves is the definitive guide to Mrs. Walter Buchanan's virtually unknown poem, Piggy. Finally, with a little help from editor Ursula Hogg-Reave, D.M.R. Bentley, Susan Bailey and the Canadian Poetry Press, this exceptional piece of Canadian history can be brought the recognition it deserves.

In true 'snorton' style, the text contains not only this magnificent poem, but an informative introduction, glossary of porcine terms, several letters to Buchanan's confidant in prose and in 'procreation,' and many articles written to assist the reader in developing a deeper understanding of "Piggy." Although the poem speaks for itself, the added works provide a necessary historical, cultural and economical background.

The 38-line poem is, to put it bluntly, an ode to the pig. However, after reading Buchanan's work, the reader can not help but be amazed at the hygenically-impaired creature's impact on our lives. Buchanan moons over "meat – juicy meat – and spare ribs so sweet," in such a way that you can't help but smack your lips and run to the nearest pig-roast.

Hogg-Reave has included a helpful glossary of porcine terms. This valuable asset to the collection helps to clear up any misconceptions a contemporary reader may have in regard to the 'porker prose' found in the barnyard. A cushion is the comfy thing modern readers sit on, but in regard to the pig, it is, "in a horse, pig, etc., the fleshy part of the buttock. See administration, university." Definitions such as this are essential in understanding "Piggy," and provide some new ways to impress your friends.

The final section is a compilation of several critical articles which shed new light on the poem. The reviews provide necessary educational details as a footnote to Piggy – for example, The Fear of Pigs in Early Canadian Poetry: An Erotics of Pork.

Whether you are an English major looking for some guidance on the early Canadian poetry scene, or a science major aching for a change of scenery, this snorton critical edition should be on your bed-side table.

Copies can be purchased for $15 from the Canadian Poetry Press, located in Rm 373 of University College. But get there fast, because these suckers are going to sell like hot cakes – with a side order of bacon, of course.

–Carey Franklin

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997