Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Four Canadian Eco-Poets by Catherine Owen

Four Canadian Eco-Poets
Don McKay, Di Brandt, Don Domanski and Dionne Brand
© Catherine Owen
Jun 16, 2008

Poets have always celebrated nature. Now in a time of ecological crisis, their voices, speaking out against planetary plunder, are even more essential.

Poets have always been witnesses to the world. In this time of ecological crisis, poetry speaks to the need to be aware of the other, to conserve resources and to fight back against globalization's takeovers of other cultures' languages, neighbourhoods and ecosystems. These recent books of poetry by four important Canadian poets testify to the responsibility we have towards the planet and to the joy the earth can bring us when we accept the interconnectedness of all life.

Don McKay's Strike/Slip

Infused with the language of geology, McKay's collection turns to the very materials the earth is made of, its hard source, for his poems. Opening with the question, "Who are you?" and concluding, "You are the momentary mind of rock," Strike/Slip (McClelland & Stewart, 2006) explores the erosions of the self's destructive incursions on the planet as the ego is replaced by devotion and attention. McKay makes stone and bird the stars of his book, never losing his sense of musicality and humour. For instance, his commemorations of birdsong implies that the tunes carry messages such as, "Watch your asses, creatures of the Neogene."

read the rest here


Don McKay's latest release is Songs for the Songs of Birds, an audio recording with Rattling Books of poems by Don McKay selected on the themes of birds, birding and flight.