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These Fields Were Rivers

These Fields Were Rivers

Brent MacLaine's poems, like the poet himself, are rooted in the history and landscape of Prince Edward Island. Yet, MacLaine possesses a remarkable ability to graft rural values to contemporary culture, with its urban habits and popular entertainments, its scientific theories and technological mythologies.

MacLaine belongs to the first generation of Islanders not farming the land, and his poems explore his uneasy relationship with the patch of earth where he lives. He follows the island contours in an expansive sweep across the fields and into the woods; he also shares an islander's sense of confinement, bound into a small place by the sea and the red cliffs. The island before human existence, the coming of European settlers, or the stubbled ground tilled by his father are as readily available to his fertile imagination as meteorological patterns, modern art, or The Odyssey.

Using his Maritime home as template for larger universal concerns, MacLaine offers clear-headed insight into the natural world — and into human nature — in an astonishing range of poems shaped by his nimble attention to his quotidian world.


Brent MacLaine teaches modern literature at the University of Prince Edward Island. His poetry collections include Shades of Green, These Fields Were Rivers, and Wind and Root. MacLaine has won the PEI Milton Acorn Award for Poetry and the Atlantic Poetry Prize.

108 pages
Pub date: January 22, 2004