Writing the Tides: New and Selected Poems

Writing the Tides, by Kevin Roberts

Writing the Tides

New and Selected Poems

by Kevin Roberts


  • Spring 2006
  • ISBN 978-155380-036-1 (1-55380-036-2)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 208 pages
  • Poetry

Speaking of Kevin Roberts, the Australian writer Nigel Krauth says, “Roberts takes the common man’s point of view and proves that humanity is still connected to the great turning of the universe.” Certainly this “New and Selected” provides ample evidence of Roberts’ sense of connectedness, as he selects the best from his previous eleven books of poetry and shows that for over thirty years he has been one of the more powerful voices on the Canadian scene.

Like Ted Hughes, Roberts frequently employs strong images of the countryside to explore the human condition – as in his earliest volume, Cariboo Fishing Notes (1973), where he works the trout streams of the Cariboo for what the art of fishing reveals of philosophical stances. Roberts also explores the work culture of Canada’s resource economy, as in Deep Line which tells of skippering a salmon trolling boat and “deep lining” the fish.

In S’ney’mos, Roberts widens his themes to document in poetic terms the coal mining history of Nanaimo and the effect mining had on the aboriginal people of the area. Stonefish takes Roberts into new territory in Tahiti, with a sequence of poems based on the life of Gauguin. In Cobalt 3, Roberts again opens up new territory when he offers a grim but blackly comic rendering of his own personal duel with cancer. With the addition of many new poems in Writing the Tides, Roberts shows that he is still at the top of his form.

“Kevin Roberts knows that beauty in poetry does not rest only in the image, but also in the energy of the poem. I read his poetry because he’s written the magic of deep water, and then gone further, exploring the line that floats between tragedy and living with attention.”
— Brian Brett

“Kevin Roberts’ poetry wages guerrilla warfare to keep our lives and language honest. You won’t find a straighter, deeper line than this to get into the mysterious depths of why we are here, why we need each other and why we have to soldier on. Great stuff!”
— Peter Such

“Kevin Roberts writes in the voice of a citizen of the world. His richly textured life is reflected in his writing, and nowhere more in evidence than in this, his book of both new and selected poems. There is an evenness of intensity to the poems in this collection which makes for smooth reading.”
— Heidi Greco

Also by Kevin Roberts:



Writing the Tides was one of the outstanding books of 2006.”
Canadian Literature

“There is an evenness of intensity to the poems in this collection which makes for smooth reading.”
Prairie Fire