AWARDS, HONORS: British Columbia Book Prize honorable mention, and shortlisted for Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, both 1998, both for Ivanhoe Station.
Ivanhoe Station, Anvil Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.
Hundred Block at Nine, Smoking Lung, 1998.
Full Magpie Dodge, Anvil Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.
Works published in sub-TERRAIN, Prism International, Adbusters Quarterly, Canadian Dimension, Tremor, Geist, and Seventh Wave.
SIDELIGHTS: Canadian poet Lyle Neff attracted critical interest and nominations for the British Columbia Book Prize and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for his first poetry collection, Ivanhoe Station. The book contains a mix of political and personal verse written in traditional forms. Subjects treated in the poems include sex, marriage, poverty, Third World politics, and personal portraits.
In the Canadian Book Review Annual, Bert Almon remarked on Neff's blunt diction regarding sex and his sympathy for the poor and politically oppressed. Almon regretted that the poet fails to treat sex "in an interesting way" and characterized the "left-wing implications" of his political stance as little more than a "commendable awareness" of Third World issues. But the critic asserted that Neff shows talent despite a disparity between his formal style and rough language and the "mixed signals" they give the reader. Almon singled out "Busted Tuesday" as the best poem in the collection.
In a review for eye, Kevin Connolly expressed a more enthusiastic response to Ivanhoe Station. After describing Neff's choice of form as less than innovative, the critic advised, "What makes Neff a compelling poet, rather than one of those trained mimics unloosed yearly from writing workshops, is that he's willing to take an emotional risk." Connolly admired the portraits "Johnny at the Movies" and "Ode to Jessica's Hat," and thought that "Waiting for a Cheque" resembles the work of Milton Acorn and Philip Levine. Connolly enjoyed "Weddings," which he found to be "as blunt as you can get about the institution of marriage and still credibly defend it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Book Review Annual, 1998, Bert Almon, review of Ivanhoe Station, p. 3189.
eye, July 23, 1998, Kevin Connolly, "Poetry by the Pound."*