Brazilian Journal.

Author:Skalkos, Lia
Position:Book review

P.K. Page (author); BRAZILIAN JOURNAL; The Porcupine's Quill (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 27.95 ISBN: 9780889843479

Byline: Lia Skalkos

There is an irony to moving: while the primary change seems to be an external one, it is often the subtle, internal one that is the most profound. The more exotic the locale, the more exotic the inner change. Canadian poet P.K. Page tracks the course of this transformation in her book Brazilian Journal. In 1957, Page moved to Brazil with her husband, where he was assigned as Canadian ambassador. Loathe to move there at first, she is slowly drawn in by Brazil and soon comes to love it. Gradually, a change takes place. While a writer by trade, Page begins to gravitate towards the visual, becoming entranced by Brazil's natural beauty, eventually turning from poetry to drawing and painting in an effort to capture her surroundings.

Despite being seduced by the outer world, Page's journal entries remain rich in observation. Each page luxuriates in description of the nature -- an insect with "black lace wings and a green brocade head and a noise like a DC-3 revving up" finds its way into Page's bedroom, the world "throbs" with green, and a "wild palm leggy as colts" appears before her on a bay. Most of Page's entries are filled with this kind of reverent, indulgent description, roping the reader in and making Brazil's beauty visceral. In fact, Page's writing is often observational at the expense of the personal -- the reader rarely, if ever, is allowed into her inner life, though this...

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