Writing the Tides
New and Selected Poems
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.