Review: These Wings by Kim Fahner

Pedlar Press| 2019 | 80 Page | $22.00 | Purchase online

Reviewed by Vera Constantineau


First, let’s talk about the physical aspects of this poetry collection. These Wings is as light as a feather—no pun intended. Inside the smooth cover the feel of the pages is surprisingly substantial, like a small bird that weighs next to nothing, but has the core strength to withstand a high wind. If I ever was to create a book of my words, this is how I would want it to feel. Light. Smooth. Satisfying to hold. The pleasure doesn’t stop at tactile, which is great, because let’s face it, no book was ever bought because of its body, we buy books for our minds – and theirs.

The poems in this collection will lead you through an opening of your senses.

On the very first page, Conversation with Crows, we read “his eyes reflecting sky – a cloud here, drifting.” This, to me, feels so observant, so evocative. It continues, “a constellation sewn into shadow.” Now, don’t you want to slide back in your chair? Take a moment? Because you too can see the night sky, experience that bird’s eye view. The imagery is wonderful.

Fahner does not have any need to pull rabbits out of a hat, her poetic magic comes in more subtle ways to draw you in. She teases you along with interactions so personal you cannot doubt their truth. She’s asking you to see what she sees and her vision is broad. See the way a bird swoops, the way a lover leaves your bedding rumpled and your “duvet blushing.” Doesn’t that small pairing of words turn you into a voyeuristic fly on the wall? It bears repeating, “duvet blushing.” Don’t you wish to witness love at a certain age? Perhaps I’m projecting? Perhaps that’s hope? And Fahner gives you that.

Ekphrastic Poetry anyone? Try out “A Love Note for Yellowknife.” Based on a painting by Terry Pamplin, Kim Fahner’s words made me want to sit in front of this painting and gather it in. I wanted to stand on the shore of Great Slave Lake and verify the houseboats bobbing, verify the unseen “days that never turn to night.” I wanted to be a back-seat passenger experiencing the raucous behavior of “wild car rides.” Really? From a painting? She does that, Fahner, she leads us there. If you are taken along by “Love Note for Yellowknife,” then you will not want to pass up The Frida Poems. This series grew from the poet seeing an exhibit at the Glenbow Museum, in Calgary, Alberta, 2018. Here is grit, sadness, love and unfulfilled yearning.

Kim Fahner’s connection to nature is a poetic fibrous root spreading to include aquatic insights with The Essex County Poems and avian amour with The Bird House-Pelee Island. Connections to home and family are also in evidence with Shadow Box Monarchs and Strong Winds Remind Me of My Father. There is nothing small about Fahner’s reach. The broader world is examined and memorialized in The War Flowers Sequence, “From France to Montreal” . . . “a blossom kept like tissue paper, and the scent of a rose.”

As someone who enjoys reading poetry for the stories it can tell I am beyond pleased to know a copy of this collection now lives in my home. I feel its presence. If I was working on the five-star system, I would allot These Wings a 4 9/10ths. If I have one small hum, hum, hum, it is the font size. Of course, at a certain age—bifocals.

Do pick up These Wings poems by Kim Fahner and let your imagination fly.



Kim Fahner was the fourth poet laureate of the City of Greater Sudbury (2016-18), and was the first woman to be appointed to the role. She has published four volumes of poetry, including You Must Imagine the Cold (Scrivener Press, 1997), braille on water (Penumbra Press, 2001), The Narcoleptic Madonna (Penumbra Press, 2012), and Some Other Sky (Black Moss Press, 2017). She is also a playwright and a novelist.

Vera Constantineau of Copper Cliff ON writes poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction. Her love of poetry began at a very young age, and she considers the poetic form to be a lesson in how to write concisely in other genres. Her haiku, senryu and short fiction have been published internationally in the UK and the US. In 2017 she self-published a debut collection of short fiction titled Daisy Chained. Most recently Vera’s essay, Options, was chosen for inclusion in the new Anvil Press anthology, Against Death Aug. 2019.