Authors@Acadia Present Don McKay and Stevie Howell
Thurs. Oct. 9: Don McKay reading from Angular Unconformity: The Collected Poems of Don McKay & Stevie Howell] reading from [sharps]—, (icehouse poetry, Goose Lane, Oct. 2014) McKay —Canada Council Funded Tour; Howell funded by League of Canadian Poets
Over a span of more than forty years, Don McKay has been writing and publishing poetry and essays, his reputation and influence increasing with each passing year. Don McKay’s books have been recognized with many awards, including five nominations for the Governor General’s Award, winning twice, and three nominations for the Griffin Poetry Prize, winning once. He was recognized with admittance to the Order of Canada in 2009. Angular Unconformity presents, for the first time, the collected poetic works of one of Canada’s preeminent writers in a stunning, cloth-bound edition that will appeal to readers who have followed McKay’s career for many years, as well as new readers who are just discovering this master of Canadian letters.
Angular Unconformity collects the contents of Long Sault (1975), Lependu (1978), Birding, or Desire (1983), Sanding Down This Rocking Chair on a Windy Night (1987), Night Field (1991), Apparatus (1997), Another Gravity (2000), Strike/Slip (2006), The Muskwa Assemblage (2008), and Paradoxides (2012), as well as a handful of new poems and a whimsical, meditative afterword by the author.
Taken together, these poems comprise a body of work without equal. His is the voice of a careful observer, a confiding and companionate voice that whispers “Look!” to the reader, pointing out the barely noticeable and rarely considered phenomena that underpin our short existence. Without succumbing to anthropomorphism, McKay gives voice to birds and rocks, showing us how to see them as if for the first time. Without resorting to jargon, McKay gives life to phenomenological philosophy in playful and lucid — but never simple — verse. Wherever one looks, contemporary Canadian poetry bears the stamp of McKay’s influence, and this volume provides the proof.
“McKay is a meticulous observer and a poet who is equally meticulous — not that he’s fussy or tight — he is supple, loose-limbed, like a long-distance walker and taut as a guitar string that vibrates in tune with the universe.” — Halifax Herald
“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
Stevie Howell’s ^^^^^^ [Sharps]
Emergencies, faith, truancy, and poverty intersect in this wry debut that volunteers a transfusion of the unpredictable for those who yearn to transition beyond a muralized Olive Garden world.
Stevie Howell’s [Sharps] takes its cue from an Egyptian hieroglyph used interchangeably to represent “waters,” the letter N, and all prepositions within a sentence. Similarly, Sharps alters its structure and functionality from page to page. The Queen launches an advertising campaign to procure our envy. The last unicorn crochets a sweater out of the sisal cords of the book. The falsity of Billy Joel’s New York propaganda is grounds for libel. We discover the one thing you can do “With a sawed-off rifle, a low IQ, and curiosity/about human biology.”
From certain angles, [Sharps] embraces the possibilities of poetry —from others, it engages in a protracted street fight with language.