Strike/Slip

Strike/Slip

by Don McKay
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780771055430
Publisher:
McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
Publication date:
02/28/2006
Pages:
88
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.18(d)

Read an Excerpt

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?

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