Book Review: Casting Shadows by David Terelinck

Casting Shadows by David TerelinckBook Name: Casting Shadows

Author:  David Terelinck

Genre: Poetry, Tanka

Hardcover: 81 pages

Published in 2011

ISBN 978-0646551081 (Print)


Rating: 5 stars

Short Review: Poetic and articulate array of black with white and gentleness with the hard reality of life.   


I have always found shadows fascinating and intriguing. The way they tease the mind, shadows have a way of creating unique images or ideas.  A shadow might also be symbolic of something dark and haunting; something distasteful.  I share Kathy Kituai’s sentiments when she comments on David’s debut book, Casting Shadows … ‘Rather than outrun his, David Terelinck faces shadows in ‘Casting Shadows and makes us aware of the many shades they have to offer.’


Casting Shadows’ is a collection of tanka by renowned Australian poet David Terelinck. If you have experienced shadows in your life, David has a tanka for it. Grief, pain, love and longing, David artfully paints strokes of black and white to highlight the grays that exist in-between. In addition, he finds humor in the absurd and unexpected. 

Are shadows just the side of you that you wish not to be?  I could differ, as does David. Standing in the shade of a Morton Bay Fig, the poet captures the image of this tall figure of a tree in front of him. He sees the life of one in the other as appreciation for the widespread branches touches him within, akin to the arms of his late father. I personally loved the expression ‘spreading its arthritic limbs’ that precedes his sense of loss in missing his dad. This introductory tanka has a wealth of emotion and expression that I appreciate more and more each time I read it. The underlying tone of sorrow and admiration is poignant as he compares his father to this tree that 'towers' over him. Do you share a similar 'sorrow' in the shadow of another? 


casting shadows

a Morton Bay Fig

towers over me

spreading its arthritic limbs –

how I miss my father


Casting Shadows is a poetic collection of individual tanka, tanka sequences and haibun. I recommend this book for the incredible talent and skill that David possesses in transforming  lifeless objects into those of beauty and grace, and for capturing everyday situations for what they are. Casting Shadows is no doubt, an enlightening poetic volume that portrays the many shades of light and dark expressions in your life.


the whistle

of the tea kettle

I make

a pot for two

out of habit