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Poetry Canadian

Strike/Slip

by (author) Don McKay

Publisher
McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Feb 2006
Category
Canadian, Nature, General
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780771055430
    Publish Date
    Feb 2006
    List Price
    $18.99

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Description

In this extraordinary collection from one of our most celebrated poets, Don McKay walks the strike-slip fault between poetry and landscape, sticks its strange nose into the cold silence of geologic time, meditates on marble, quartz and gneiss, and attends to the songs of ravens and thrushes and to the clamour of the industrialized bush. Behind these poems lies the urge to engage the tectonics of planetary dwelling with the rickety contraption of language, and to register the stress, sheer and strain — but also the astonishment — engendered by that necessary failure.

About the author

Don McKay has published numerous books of poetry, including Birding, or desire (1983), Night Field (1991), Apparatus (1997), Another Gravity (2000), Strike/Slip (2006), The Muskwa Assemblage (2008), and Paradoxides (2012). He won the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2007, two Governor General's Awards for Poetry (in 1991 and 2000), a National Magazine Award in 1991, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Poetry (in 1983 and 2013), and the E.J. Pratt Poetry Award in 2013. His books have also appeared on the shortlists for the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction (in 2002), the Governor General's Award for Poetry (in 1983 and 1997), and the Griffin Poetry Prize (in 2001 and 2005). He was named to the Order of Canada in 2009

McKay is also a respected editor, teacher, and scholar. He has taught at the University of Western Ontario, the University of New Brunswick, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Sage Hill Writing Experience. He has served as editor and co-publisher of Brick Books since 1975, and from 1991 to 1996, he edited The Fiddlehead. He presently lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Don McKay's profile page

Awards

  • Winner, Griffin Poetry Prize

Excerpt: Strike/Slip (by (author) Don McKay)

POND
Eventually water,
having been possessed by every verb —
been rush been drip been
geyser eddy fountain rapid drunk
evaporated frozen pissed
transpired — will fall
into itself and sit.
Pond. Things touch
or splash down and it
takes them in — pollen, heron, leaves, larvae, greater
and lesser scaup — nothing declined,
nothing carried briskly off to form
alluvium somewhere else. Pond gazes
into sky religiously but also
gathers in its edge, reflecting cattails, alders,
reed beds and behind them, ranged
like taller children in the grade four photo,
conifers and birch. All of them inverted, carried
deeper into sepia, we might as well say
pondered. For pond is not pool,
whose clarity is edgeless and whose emptiness,
beloved by poets and the moon, permits us
to imagine life without the accident-
prone plumbing of its ecosystems. No,
the pause of pond is gravid and its wealth
a naturally occurring soup. It thickens up
with spawn and algae, while,
on its surface, stirred by every
whim of wind, it translates air as texture —
mottled, moiré, pleated, shirred or
seersuckered in that momentary ecstasy from which
impressionism, like a bridesmaid, steps. When it rains
it winks, then puckers up all over, then,
moving two more inches into metamorphosis,
shudders into pelt.
Suppose Narcissus
were to find a nice brown pond
to gaze in: would the course of self-love
run so smooth with that exquisite face
rendered in bruin undertone,
shaken, and floated in the murk
between the deep sky and the ooze?

Editorial Reviews

“In Strike/Slip, Don McKay walks us out to the uncertain ground between the known and unknown, between the names we have given things and things as they are. . . . McKay’s meditations on time’s evidence acquire a similar heft, proposing, in their discipline of mind and generosity of spirit, a way to be at home in the world. A book of patience, courage, and quiet eloquence.”
— Judges’ Citation, 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize

“McKay doesn’t write about natural science so much as through it, using its terms and principles to explore the science of human nature. A poem about a hike through ‘the broken prose of the bush roads’ gradually, gracefully metamorphoses into a meditation on desire. . . . These exuberantly musical and shrewd poems are ecological in the fullest sense of the word: they seek to elucidate our relationships with our fragile dwelling places both on the earth and in our own skins.”
New York Times Book Review

“Don McKay’s poems succeed at both the intellectual and the instinctive level. He is an essential poet of our time. . . .”
— Judges’ citation, 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize

“He is our most inventive poet, a master of metaphor and a stylist with impeccable tone.”
— Patrick Lane, Globe and Mail

User Reviews

Lovely

Nature lovers and geology geeks will love this collection of poems.

I have nothing else to say, but there's a word minimum

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