Good evening, dear readers!
I’m taking a mini study break in the library. My coffee-fueled brain has pulled up three tabs, all articles revolving around the poet Mary Oliver; I’ve got several new Oliver related backgrounds in my photo library; my boyfriend has been cursing Windows 8 on his laptop–it’s not as user-friendly as Windows 7.
I’m reading Don McKay’s Strike/Slip for my Senior Seminar tonight. So far, I find his poetry both challenging–mostly because of his scientific language–and accessible due to his sense of humor, down-to-Earth tone, and his references to literature, art, and film.
Keep in mind that McKay is Canadian. It’s important in a bit.
Some gems so far (he does occasionally use harsh language):
We could tell you/how those fuck-ups in Deliverance/ fucked up:
(1) stupid tin canoe
(2) couldn’t/do the J-stroke
(3) wore life jackets
(4) didn’t/have the wit to be immortal/and ephemeral as we were.
– from “Precambrian Shield”
. . . you’re all the riff-raff Noah/
had no room for, uncountable/
Canada geese and not-quite-standard moose,/
you’re everyone who ever/
missed the playoffs
– from “Alluvium”
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?
– from “Pond”
Normally, Geology isn’t my thing. I’m an English major. Yes, I will occasionally pick up rocks, or snap pictures of a pretty mushroom or perhaps a tree, but I don’t like to extensively study rocks. Unless, I guess, these minerals are unique. Like amethyst.
Rocks are cool. But I’m not going to school to study their ins and outs.
McKay, as a poet, molds words to make places like the Canadian Shield interesting. That’s a gift. His use of humor and imagery are clear, remaining distinct throughout Strike/Slip. He knows how to utilize pop and literary references; he knows when to throw in a Biblical or an art history joke. McKay, I think, is quickly becoming one of my new favorite poets.
His poetry actually makes me interested in rocks–er–minerals.