Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

November 9th,1998

Big Water
Poems By John Engels
Published by The Lyons Press
123 West 18th St., New York, New York 10011
Phone: 212-620-9580 email The Lyons Press

Poetry is a subjective art. The writer is saying one thing, and if he has done his job he makes a connection with the reader. Common ground or sharing the same frame of reference is one of the things that makes poetry 'click' with the reader. Others read the same poem and wonder why it was published at all.

Perhaps it is easier to make that connection when the poems are about fly fishing. Not all fly fishermen read poetry - which is a shame - because the poets say things we feel but cannot express. Once read, our mind says "Oh yeah, I know that feeling or situation." And our lives are enriched for knowing the words can be put into print.

John Engels made the connection with me on several fronts. We have fished some of the same water. I can see the places he writes about. I know the lay of the land. Other readers may not be so lucky. If this collection of poems is lacking, I would wish for more description. Allow the reader a little more of the poets view.

The poem which gave its name to the book, Big Water is a novella in structure, drafted as a poem. The story of two brothers fishing the tailwaters of the locks at Sault Ste, Marie in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. An annual trek with fishing as the excuse, reunion the reality. Hope is their companion, as it is with all anglers. Fourteen years of fishing for one big rainbow. Then one final trip, alone.

There are marvelous insights of the authors world in Big Water. Bits and pieces of a very personal world in every poem. John Engel has given the reader a piece of himself.

Scattered throughout the book are wonderful line drawings by Alan James Robinson, shown at the right.

For some excerpts from Big Water, check out Poet's Creek here on FlyAnglers OnLine.

The book is available as both Cloth and Softbound, and is priced at $16.95 for a Softbound book, and $22.95 in Cloth.

I do enjoy good poetry, and it is hard to find in the fly fishing world. If you think all poetry rhymes and sounds like silly limericks, you have a real treat in store. This is reality writing. With joy and a touch of sadness. I recommend it - you won't be disappointed! ~ DB

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