Our Back Pages
Issue 19

Issue Date: July, 1971
Editor(s): John Peter and Robin Skelton
Pages: 124
Number of Contributors: 21

Cover of issue #18

I would be remiss to start without drawing attention to the provocative and mesmerizing cover photograph by Don Ross whose works are explored by the late Burton Kurth, then Associate Professor at UVic and much-loved patron of the arts.  The cover image, which resembles an eye the longer I looked at it, seems to invite the reader to step inside and see the world as the artist sees it. I can’t help but sense that I’m about to enter into a multi-layered creative space. In his essay, “Donald Ross - A Personal View,” Kurth explores one man’s photographic journey and offers insights into “what [Ross] feels photography can do as a visual art.” While Ross’s work harkens back to a time when pre-digital photography reigned, his insights remain timeless and of interest to modern-day practitioners and/or admirers of the craft. No less than twelve representative black-and-white photos by Ross are printed inside the issue.

Readers will be delighted by two early poems by a then 20-year-old emerging writer, Susan Musgrave. The highly acclaimed Canadian poet, novelist, essayist, and children’s writer offers a glimpse of her poetic prowess in two pieces titled “Night and Fog” and “Night-Hawk.”

Next, the issue continues with a foray into the realm of American poetry with a sensuous sampling of poems by established and lesser-known poets including Sandra McPherson, Greg Kuzma, and William L. Fox. Also, readers can delve into the European mindscape of a writer best known for her feminist classic novel, The Wall. Marlen Haushofer’s short story, “Coffee With Hot Milk,” is both an engaging and cringe-worthy portrait of the human condition played out by a protagonist who desires freedom from his life, his wife and a controlling mother with a limited repertoire of dessert offerings.  The piece offers up a comedic slice of life that can’t be missed.

—Robin Reniero