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Poetry Canadian

The Crown Prince Waits for a Train

by (author) Tim Inkster

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Jun 1976
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 1976
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


'There is an amusing story of poet Tim Inkster who went searching for the poetic significance of the raven in northern Ontario. ... Stumbling into a local pub after trying to photograph the bird, he found a quiet dark little corner to sip his beer and reflect on the day's work. Sensing something looking over his shoulder, Inkster wheeled around to see a huge stuffed black raven with glass eyes staring him down. It was about as large as an eagle and equally forboding. This story is a suitable preface to the work in this chapbook, The Crown Prince Waits For A Train, because the image of the raven is predominant (along with the train) in dealing with the themes of lost time and the realization of horror.'

About the author

Tim Inkster`s proudest moment, as a poet, was the inclusion of "In Search of Eldorado" (from A Crown Prince Waits for a Train) in the 1975 edition of the Penguin Book of Canadian Verse edited by Ralph Gustafson. His most recent collection was Blue Angel (Black Moss, 1981) after which he stopped writing poems in favour of a career in the book publishing industry. The Crown Prince Waits for a Train is one of only two Porcupine`s Quill publications from the 1970s that are still available in the original edition, at the original price.

Tim Inkster's profile page

Editorial Reviews

'His words have an even, steady pulse which speak about ordinary things and events, but move these tangibles out of focus. The menacing quality is like the raven which darts and dives at automobiles on Ontario highways and at the same time is the scavenger figure feeding on time. The effect throughout this book is to make the figures no longer recognizable -- essentially it is intended to blur his characters.

'The portrait of his wife for example in the panama hat could be someone else, the men in his poetry become mythical and the raven is transformed into an idea. The image of the train is also a poetic device to move the reader on from one poem to the next. Each work becomes a never-ending tale with the strange sense that the poetry is a continuous song. The blurring effect, like music, has an unfinished quality to it or an incompleteness with the result that the reader is driven beyond the images to their own conclusions.

'Inkster's work in this collection has the feeling of words coming from a raconteur who has turned his attention from the specific, such as actual dates, times and names, to the mystical. Both the train and the raven reflect this in his tales.

'The Crown Prince Waits For A Train is similar to the Mrs Grundy book which Inkster wrote a few years ago in that the poet builds his poems around images which reflect time and change. Of the two books, this recent one is perhaps his best.'

Windsor Star

'For Inkster time has stopped, his world has been frozen. ... The hero may well dread worse pain, for he is in hell, where the past is simply repeated, where out of the frost, fire, floor emerge the dead. ... Complete, predictable, Inkster's sophisticated hell has its fascination. But there is a danger: love, a mere attraction, might set time once more in motion.'

Canadian Literature