Ewan Whyte's Desire Lines: Essays on Art, Poetry, & Culture
Ewan Whyte's Desire Lines is a gathering of occasional essays by Guernica Editions that came out in 2017. According to the afterword, the essays were previously published in the Globe and Mail, or various magazines. A number of the pieces on art were written to accompany exhibitions in galleries.
Whyte's plain style is informative and a pleasure to read. Photographs accompany the essays on artists who, with the exception of Ai Weiwei, were all new to me. Guernica is to be commended for including photographs, not a given these days.
As a words person, though, the essays on poetry meant more to me. Whyte's previous books are a volume of poetry Entrainment, and a volume of translations from Catullus. Essays on poetry included as topics Catullus and Homer, Anne Carson and Leonard Cohen, as well as others.
The final essay was a painful and powerful meditation on his mother, now succumbing to Alzheimer's, who had joined a cult in the 70s and left the ten-year-old Ewan in the hands of other cult members, until at the age of sixteen he managed to run away.