Trout Stream Creed


“At the moment, Dear Reader, neither you nor I stand hip-deep in a trout stream./ This fact distresses me./ So wade in, look upstream, always upstream.”


As a fiction writer, David Carpenter is known for his ability to tell a good story, his sense of humour, his keen eye for detail, his love of the intricacies of language. All that is here in these poems. Playful and compassionate, engaging and graceful, filled with wit, insight, and wisdom, Trout Stream Creed celebrates the marvels of nature and the bonds of family. These poems are a pure delight.


heart like a frog

his love asleep // the air green and humming // around her
boggy fresh and // when she smiles from waking // purlings & warblings // from the redwing blackbirds of his heart // like a frog he loves to cling // to the lily pads of her breasts // sleeping or waking her muskeg mass /// is the schaumgummi of love // so like a marsh is she // where gadwalls gabble quackhappy in her waters // ribbet the limbs ribbet the breast // ribbet the nose her ears her toes // a ribbet apiece to all the rest // that ebbs and flows in sweet repose//and don’t forget the other breast// and if a frog defines his essence // then let him drown in her tumescence // the alarm

The alarm clock has done its work.
He wades from bed to bathroom.
Bedroom flippers flap on the floor
head of cattail aloft between his legs.
At last he pours the coffee and
flippers? Did he say flippers?
He looks down at his feet.
Surely they are called slippers.

David Carpenter, 2002

Trout Stream Creed cover

mp3Reading Excerpts

Trout1, pp 68-72

Trout2, pp 90-91

Trout3, pp 103

Trout4, pp 87-89


Critical Response

David Carpenter’s Trout Stream Creed is a work of flowing poetry that courses through the close bonds of family, the beauty of nature, and the changing facets of life itself. The lithe, simple brevity offers a unique clarity of voice and spirit.

- Wisconsin Bookwatch

“My Father’s Dying” is a long and moving poem about the narrator’s father’s unwillingness to die despite myriad illnesses. It works because of a narrator who is at times both indifferent and moved by the old man’s suffering. Equally compelling are the pieces about the narrator’s mother, particularly “Notes on My Mother,” which ends the collection....He is at his best when he delves into character.

- Norm Sacuta, The Winnipeg Free Press

My favourite poets are those like David Carpenter, based in Saskatchewan, who reflect the area’s famous pragmatism and epic topographical plainness in their verse. Prosaic without ever being didactic or terse, Carpenter’s poems are wondrously economic in their images and deployment of language. It’s hard not to relate to his evocations, including this missive (The Naming of March) encompassing the universal angst that comes with the last gasp of Western winter: In March the puddles melt the/ puddles freeze the puddles/ melt the puddles freeze.... March lasts about a year and a half/ like the last eighteen months/ before puberty.

- Gilbert Bouchard, The Edmonton Journal

In poems both laconic and moving, Carpenter takes his reader on a journey through the several decades of their making. His poems easily convey experiences and ideas rich in family matters and nature and are often touched with good humour and an abiding delight and consolation in the pleasures of language and poetry.

- Nominating jury for the award of Saskatchewan Book of the Year, 2004

Trout Stream Creed is Saskatchewan writer David Carpenter’s first book of poety, but readers of his seven earlier books, fiction and nonfiction, will know that he is already an expert at waxing lyric about fishing. His background as a prose writer shows in his ability to capture the spoken voice, as he does to effect in the funny and moving poem My Father’s Dying. The title poem blends sophisticated literary references with statement of naive wonder to produce a heartfelt prayer for ecological responsibility. It should be required reading for anyone who’s ever donned a pair of leaking waders.

- Alison Calder, Winnipeg Free Press


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