Author Name: Richard Stevenson
Publisher Name: Dreaming Big Publications
Reviewed By: Jessica
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the early 1980’s, serial killer Clifford Olson rampaged through the lower mainland of British Columbia, raping and murdering eleven victims. His heinous cash-for-bodies deal foreshortened his trial, and resulted in the law currently on Canadian books that forbids criminals from benefitting financially from their crimes.
Olson was just the pimple on the hide of a misogynist culture, as this long poem sequence attests.
Sometimes a book project chooses its author, as this one did when the author recognized one of the victims from her photograph.
‘Rock, Scissors, Paper,’ explores a difficult and uncomfortable topic through poetic form. The book draws from real events, inspired by the Clifford Olson murders in British Columbia. Although the material of the book contains strong language, unsettling images, and disturbing thoughts, Richard Stevenson creates awareness for the topic that embeds itself in readers’ minds. His style of writing and his ability to go into the mind of serial killer is praiseworthy. It’s hard to find words to describe the impact Richard’s words will have on the reader.
Each individual poem impressed me for different reasons, whether it was the point of view, the language, or the message, I was drawn to continue turning the pages. This collection is not for the faint of heart, but for those able to stomach the topic, it will be worth the read. For me, the impact of the book is why I would recommend it. It made me want to investigate the Olson murders and research more into criminal law, serial killers, and psychopaths. By bringing more awareness to the topic, perhaps more research can be done, and people like Olson won’t get away with their crimes, or be able to commit them in the first place.
I would recommend ‘Rock, Scissors, Paper’ to individuals who enjoy darker material and who want to see how poetry can tell an entire story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Stevenson was born in Victoria, B.C., in 1952 and has lived in western Canada and Nigeria. A college English teacher by profession, he taught English, Canadian and African literature, Business Communication, Creative and Technical Writing, E.S.L., and humanities courses in high schools and colleges. A former Editor-in-Chief of Prism international, he served in various editorial, jury, and writing/arts group executive capacities. His own reviews and poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, anthologies, e-zines, and journals published in Canada, the United States, and overseas. He performed with the jazz/ poetry group Naked Ear and rock music/YA verse troupe Sasquatch, and occasionally puts other ensembles together for book launches and performances and reviews books.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.