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West Prince writers publish poetry

by Sue Gallant

If you enjoy poetry and like to while away the winter months with a good book, then look no further than Western PEI this January. Interpretations, by Todd Wood of O,Leary; and Life According to Evelyn Bernard, by Evelyn Bernard of Tignish, are both poetry collections with a fascinating background.

Interpretations is Wood's second book of poetry. His first, Carousel, went into two printings. In Carousel, Wood dealt almost exclusively with his on-going experiences battling severe mental illness. The honesty and candour with which he tackled such socially taboo subject matter, was simultaneously startling and immensely refreshing. "He seemed to need to get that written first, before he could go on to see other things around him," Wood's mentor, Allan Graham, told The Buzz. Graham is the author of many publications himself, including the acclaimed A Photo History of the Prince Edward Island Railway.

Wood's recently launched Interpretations, explains what the author sees around him, and what he thinks other people see, in the world around them. The poetry in the collection reflects Wood's positive personal progress since publication of Carousel, as Wood, his friends and family, and medical support team, have dealt with Wood's illness. There are still poems about the illness, but there are now others dealing with the real world as Wood is now able to see it. Interpretations is a beacon of inspiration to others struggling to deal with, or supporting another, coping with mental illness.

Life According to Evelyn Bernard is a first collection for the author. Graham, a pillar of support for West Prince writers, was also the mentor for this book. Bernard is a single, down-to-earth type mom, with an enviable joie de vivre. "Life to me is like a spinning top, around and around. But this one never stops," says Bernard. "There are smooth days, and as many rocky ones. Happy and sad, exciting and dull. Many lonely and as many filled with....Life according to myself should have challenge, a bit of uniqueness, love of many friends and family, and very important to me, peace. Life is a special gift we should appreciate and enjoy, no matter how little or how great. At the end, we are all equal."

Interpretations by Todd Wood, is published in paperback priced $8.00, and is available from the author at 859-3200. Life According to Evelyn Bernard by Evelyn Bernard, is published in paperback priced $7.00, and is available from the author at 882-2830.

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