In Smithereens, Terence Young ranges widely among forms, subjects, tones and moods, invoking the domestic world of family and home, as well as the associated realms of work and play. He describes the simple pleasure of losing one’s bearings and seeing the world anew in “Tender is the Night,” and in “The Bear” he records the near-magical appearance at a summer cabin of a creature that hasn’t been seen in the area in over fifty years. The ironic benefits of a house fire, the late-night sounds of a downtown alley, the smells of a summer morning in the Gulf islands—all of these serve as vehicles for reminiscence, meditation and humour. Elsewhere in the collection, he summons an elegiac mood, remembering in poems like “Surcease,” “Fern Island Candle,” “The Morning Mike Dies,” and “Gary” some of the friends who have left his world. More than any of his previous books, though, Smithereens features poems that are playful, in which language is often associative, surprising and fun. It is a collection that will reward readers, whatever their temperament upon picking it up, and it will also invite them to return to its pages again and again.
About the author
Terence Young recently retired from teaching English and creative writing at St. Michaels University School. He is a co-founder and former editor of The Claremont Review, an international literary journal for young writers. His first collection of poetry, The Island in Winter (Véhicule Press, 1999), was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Award. Since then, he has published several books: a collection of stories, Rhymes With Useless, which was one of two runners-up for the annual Danuta Gleed award; a novel, After Goodlake’s, which received the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2005; and a second collection of poetry, Moving Day, which was nominated for both the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2006. In 2008, he was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. More recently he received a National Magazine Award for his poem “The Bear,” and was the 2019 winner of the Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. Young lives in Victoria, BC.