The Will of the Water – Review “Arguments with the Lake” by Tanis Rideout (2013) Wolsak & Wynn

I have often said it before but those of us who grew up near the shores of the Great Lakes have often taken for granted the influence Blue Water has had around us. Certainly we know about the feats that people had done traversing the waters and the effects of the weather around us, but do we actually THINK about what having the lakes around us has influenced our lives. That is the beauty of the collection of poems in Arguments with the Lake by Tanis Rideout.

Begin – Page 6

This lake, like others, was dug out. Glacial ice grinding south, scouring

weak Silurian stone, an arctic tsunami leaving only the backbone

of the escarpment. Canadian Shield and broken tumble of kames in its


Rideout has used the experiences of Marilyn Bell and Shirley Campbell – two teenage swimmers back in the 1950s who swam Lake Ontario –  to frame the experiences of Great Lakes. And in that she has open the eyes of readers to what exactly the lakes mean to people around them.

The Fear of Silence – Page 14

The shoreline changes more than its citizens. The city

has leached into the lake. Front Street really was the Front

Fishermen docked at the market’s doors. It is as though

we want to live in that water – press into it, fill it up,

like empty hours filled now with digital detritus.

Rideout’s  words are brilliant and strong. A reader can feel the water around themselves as she describes it.

The Pressure – Page 33

At thirty-three feet, the lake is the weight of another

atmosphere bearing down. On the beach a column

the depth of my body weighs two point two tonnes.

Stare at the shore. Point past horizon.

Maybe this is the weight of water after all? More than

metaphor, o a way to find the level. On Saturn’s moon,

another Lake Ontario shores up against a frozen world,

cradled by its own tides. I’m hovering there. Just

a little heavier than here on Earth.

Arguments with the Lake by Tanis Rideout is a brilliant piece of work which opens the readers eyes to the environment around them.


3 thoughts on “The Will of the Water – Review “Arguments with the Lake” by Tanis Rideout (2013) Wolsak & Wynn

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