After Swiss Air, a collection of poems by author Budge Wilson, is a resonant success. Some of the poems make the heart slam or prickle with pain. Others drive like an angry surf; many beg to be read aloud. Yet others are sad and delicate, like wisps of fog obscuring a wharf, while a select few shimmer with renewed receptivity to the beauty of the oceanic world. All, writes Wilson, are “written in gratitude and in celebration of those thousands of men and women who suffered – and sometimes triumphed – during the months and years that followed the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111.”
There are many potential pitfalls for such a book. Yet almost 18 years after the disaster near St. Magaret’s Bay, NS, Wilson fearlessly took on a genre that was new to her and rarely used to recount historical events, and created a book that brings images of light, and even tiny shards of joy, to one of Canada’s most horrifying events.
The 36 poems are elegant and powerful. As compelling is the book’s cover, on which a colourful quilt is set on a black background. Do judge this book by its cover. It is saturated with kindness, courage and connection.
After Swiss Air
By Budge Wilson
$19.95, paperback, 126 pp.
Pottersfield Press, 2016