Beyond the Northern Lights

Reviewed: February 6, 2007
By: Lynn Blaikie
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside
32 pages, $19.95

Distance can be a blessing and curse. I live in Dawson City and write this column from here. Many books come to me as a result of this, but some don’t. Books that are sent directly to the Star offices instead of to me sit there until I can pick them up on a trip to town. That's the curse part.

The blessing comes when I pick though the pile in the corner of the editor's office and find a gem like Lynn Blaikie's Beyond the Northern Lights.

Blaikie's book came out last fall, but my first look at it was after a recent trip to the city. She is a local artist who is working in an art form called batik (or batique), which is a type of painting, using waxed textiles which are dried by various methods as the canvas, as well as the use of inks and pens. The result is a painting with a fascinating pattern of crinkle lines as part of the surface.

The poem is a prayer.

“Raven, will you carry me

      upon your wings I pray.

Will you fly me magic places?

Will you take my breath away?”

The illustrations are the visible expression of that prayer.

The combination is absolutely delightful.