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Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Field Marks

Field Marks

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780889204942
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date: 04/30/2006
Series: Laurier Poetry Series , #2
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)

About the Author

Don McKay has published eight books of poetry. Among his many awards are the Governor General’s Award in 1991 (for Night Fields ) and in 2000 (for Another Gravity ). He was shortlisted for the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize for Camber and was the Canadian winner in 2007 for Strike/Slip . Born in Owen Sound, Ontario, Don McKay has been active as an editor, creative writing teacher, and university instructor, as well as a poet. He lives in Newfoundland.

Méira Cook was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1964, received her PhD in Canadian literature from the University of Manitoba, and has recently completed a two-year term as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. She has published poetry, criticism, a novel and, in 2005, Writing Lovers: Reading Canadian Love Poetry by Women . She has taught creative writing in high schools, literature at university, and has worked as a freelance film and arts reviewer and editor. She lives in Winnipeg.

Read an Excerpt

Field Marks: by Don McKay

just like you and me but

cageless, likes fresh air and

wants to be his longing.

wears extra eyes around his neck, his mind

pokes out his ears the way an Irish Setter's nose

pokes out a station-wagon window.

His heart is suet. He would be a bird book full of

lavish illustrations with a text of metaphor.

He would know but still

be slippery in time. He would eat crow. He becomes

hyperbole, an egghead who spends days attempting to compare the

shape and texture of her thigh to a snowy egret's neck, elegant

and all too seldom seen in Southern Ontario.

He utters absolutes he instantly forgets. Because

the swallow is intention in a fluid state it is

impossible for it to “miss. “ On the other

hand a swallow's evening has been usefully compared

to a book comprised entirely of errata slips.

He wings it.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for
Field Marks: The Poetry of Don McKay selected with an introduction by Méira Cook


Neil Besner

Biographical Note

Introduction: Song for the Song of the Dogged Birdwatcher

Méira Cook

Down River, Into the Camp

At the Long Sault Parkway

The Great Blue Heron

The Eye Meets Tom Thomson’s “A Rapid”

The Trout


Lependu nearly materialized by his blackbirds

Field Marks:


The Boy’s Own Guide to Dream Birds

I Scream You Scream

Adagio for a Fallen Sparrow

Field Marks (2):


VIA, Eastbound


Some Functions of a Leaf

How to Imagine an Albatross

from Black Spruce

Another Theory of Dusk

Meditation on a Geode

Choosing the Bow

Meditation on Shovels


Early Instruments




(i) The Man from Nod

(ii) Fates Worse Than Death

Setting the Table

(i) Knife

(ii) Fork

(iii) Spoon

Sometimes a Voice (1)


Luna Moth Meditation

Hush Factor

Sometimes a Voice (2)


Afterword: The Shell of the Tortoise

Don McKay


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Field Marks 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Selected and compiled by Meira Cook (who also provides the reader with an extensive and informative introduction), 'Field Marks' showcases some of the best verse drawn from the work of prize-winning Canadian poet Don McKay. This slender compendium providing those new to his poetry with a representative sampling (he has eight published books of poetry to his credit), is enhanced with the inclusion of an essay by McKay, 'The Shell of the Tortise', in which he presents his relationship to the earth, to metamorphosis, and to language. 'Field Marks' is a superb introduction to an accomplished poet and will motivate the reader to search out his other published works. Alibi: Because the swallows had departed from the cliff,/over and over,/the soft knives of their wings tasting the river mist as they/went wherever it is/they went, because/with the air free of their chatter we could hear ourselves/think, because the notes/we left in their holes, full of love and envy/and lament, were never answered and because we need/an earth with ears to hear the long dread/carpentry of history, and then, and so, and so,/and then, each bone nailed, wired, welded,/riveted, because we knew/the gods we loved were charismatic fictions, and because/the swallows had departed.