critical reception: commentary

Comments concerning P.W. Bridgman’s 2018 book of poems entitled A Lamb:

“Prepare to be entertained by a poet who has not been barracked and drilled by the mainstream trends and techniques of current Canadian poetry. P.W. Bridgman is an open, free-agent versifier …”

George McWhirter, poet
and winner (with Chinua Achebe) of
the Commonwealth Poetry Prize

“I eavesdrop on public transport.  P.W. Bridgman’s A Lamb provides a similar pleasure and host to the imagination.  The reader borne here, there, everywhere — listening in from beginning to end.  Languages.  Argot.  Scene after scene.  Plot twists.  Humour.  Families.  Characters who squirm, sink, surface, get entangled.  Uninhibited poems versed in tradition.  Open hearted, quick-witted poems.  Live theatre — the theatre of lives.  Poetry as public transport.  A ride that left me reflecting.”

Jane Munro, poet
and winner (with Michael Longley) of
the Griffin Poetry Prize


Comments concerning P.W. Bridgman’s 2013 selection of short fiction entitled Standing at an Angle to My Age:

“Reading Bridgman is like watching a brilliant scientist at work. He places his characters under a high-powered microscope, and then brings them into clear and merciless focus, so that we see their fascinating complexity, their furtive yearnings and the pulsing of their startled hearts.”

Anne Giardini, novelist and author
of The Sad Truth About Happiness
(HarperCollins, 2005) and Advice for
Italian Boys (HarperCollins, 2009)

“These stories are startling, the way that the short stories of Raymond Carver are. With masterful, authorial assurance, P.W. Bridgman leads you into a quiet, recognizable neighbourhood on an ordinary day. And then he delivers an ending that is like a gunshot ringing out. The sound reverberates back to reveal, with fresh impact and insight, both character and event. As the work progresses, the effect on the reader is cumulative. An eerie suspense develops, as disquieting (yet satisfying) as a mystery novel.”

Leslie Hall Pinder, novelist and
author of Bring Me One of Everything
(Grey Swan Press, 2012),
On Double Tracks (Lester &
Orpen Dennys, 2002) and Under the
House (Vintage Canada, 1990)

“What a privilege to read this beautiful collection of 18 short stories from England, Ireland and Canada. From the mysterious and magical Mr. Pound, to Bridgman’s final tale of gossip and truth, the author’s tales take me back to incidents of my own youth, lessons so many of us forget too soon. P.W. Bridgman has mastered the art of description, from an intimate peek into the neighbours’ kitchen on a Sunday morning, to a tragic act of wartime betrayal, to young love, to the dignity of a man’s last days. This is a collection you’ll want to recommend to friends, young and old.”

Ben Nuttall-Smith, novelist and
author of Blood, Feathers and Holy Men
(Libros Libertad Publishing, 2010)
and Secrets Kept/Secrets Told
(Libros Libertad Publishing, 2012)


Comments concerning other examples of P.W. Bridgman’s published fiction and poetry:

“[‘A Family Gathers’] is a quiet poem packed with illuminating detail.  A family sits around a table with their lawyer, going over a will.  The are being required to accept that a deceased man (father, husband) had sired a son unknown to them.  The 16 lines tell a huge story which spans history, nationhood, secrets and family.  Amazingly, much of the telling is through descriptions of chipped dishes, a frayed tablecloth and the family arms.  Skilfully, the poet uses a sold rhyme scheme that does not interfere with the tale.  I look forward to hearing the poet read the piece out loud.”

June Godwin, poet and
poetry judge for the 2019
Royal City Literary Arts Society’s
WriteOn! Competition

“… moving and accomplished work …”

Ian Colford, former editor
of Pottersfield Portfolio and author of
(most recently) The Crimes of Hector
Tomas (Freehand Books, 2012)

“… slightly surreal and enormously entertaining …”

Deborah McMenamy, editor of
Labello Press and winner of the
Eric Hoffer Editors’ Choice Award
for Fiction (2011)

“The narrative is simple and straightforward; the language of the telling is brilliant, lyrical. A delight to read and I would think a delight to hear read aloud.”

Sharon Riis, sometime judge
of fiction competitions for Grain and
author of (among other titles)
The True Story of Ida Johnton
(The Women’s Press, 1976)

“… a brilliant exposition of Irish Catholic life and the relationship between a young couple and [the young woman’s] family …”

Polly Robinson, author and
contributor to anthologies such as
The Survivor’s Guide to Bedlam
(B. Wrixon Books, 2012)