Ken Cathers has for decades been one of the country’s best, if unsung, poets. In his late middle-age he’s now becoming nothing less than a master. Cathers always “sounds” right, and never more than here in Missing Pieces. He knows how to score a poem—line, breath, stanza, breath again—where few poets have any ear at all for what they are doing. There’s a sensitivity, a subtlety and inventiveness, in these poems that allows cadence to dance slow down the heart of each page. The show-off poets, the cuter-by-half toss-it-off poets, and the coffee-table narrative poets our country throws up at us so predictably couldn’t sing like this in their dreams. Organically shaped lines, and never an excess word. But not only dance and move, Cathers stuns us with “image” too, more cunningly and perhaps more darkly than ever before. Above all, though, his lines flow like pure liquid. Cathers has never been a dullard mainstream poet, and never a glitz boy. The narrowest of niches, then, that he works in, without the attention due. This is the strongest book so far, by one of our most consummate poets. Bravo, and take a bow. You’ve far outdistanced the dross, Ken Cathers, and maintained a poet’s integrity while doing so. A stunning book: no-one else could have written it this well.
~ Stephen Bett
In poem after poem [in Missing Pieces] the words construct and revel in the power of language and the images that light up the human condition. In these words and images Cathers celebrates travel, death, and the always optimistic outlook of the gardener. Do we study a poem to investigate the complex maze of the creative mind, or to discern its philosophical statement and place it in the history of ideas, or do we concern ourselves with the emotional impact of the poem on the reader, or are all of these ingredients of the poetic experience? For the answers to these questions read the poems. They are powerful and will resonate with long after you put the book down.
~ Robert D. Lane, University-College Emeritus
Philosophy and Religious Studies, Malaspina Univesrity-College
Ken Cathers is married with two sons and lives with his family in the town where he was born, Ladysmith, B.C. He has worked at Harmac Pacific Pulp Mill in Nanaimo for thirty-two years. He has a B.A. from University of Victoria and a M.A. from York University in Toronto. His previous books include World of Strangers and Blues for the Grauballeman (Ekstasis Editions). This is his sixth published book of poetry.