Vintage Ondaatje by Michael Ondaatje
(Random House, Toronto: 2004)
Includes selections from The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and Coming Through Slaughter; "Travels in Ceylon", "Passions of Lalla", and "Photograph" from Running in the Family; the poems "Light", "Claude Glass", "The Cinnamon Peeler", "Elimination Dance", and "To a Sad Daughter" from The Cinnamon Peeler; "The Bridge" from In The Skin of a Lion; "Katharine" and "In Situ" from The English Patient; the poems "The Great Tree", "The Story", "Step", and "Last Ink" from Handwriting; and "Linus Corea" and "Anil" from Anil's Ghost.
READ: April 2008
I am a die-hard Ondaatje fan, and really, the only question remaining for me is whether I prefer his prose or his poetry. This book is a good chance to compare the two, but the question, alas, remains unresolved. I will say this, however: While there are other authors out there whose prose comes close to the quality of Ondaatje's, I have yet to discover a writer whose poetry falls so easily off my tongue (for poetry is best read savouring each word in your mouth), like water skimming across rocks in a shallow, fast-flowing stream, whose words are so natural yet so carefully-chosen to be always and exactly just right.