From the Nightstand: Paradoxides by Don McKay

Paradoxides by Don McKay. I’d be the first to admit that I’m not the most astute reader of poetry, but I’m trying to read more … because I think I’ve been missing something by not reading poetry. The poems in Paradoxides, with their focus on the natural and geological worlds, are richly rewarding. I love the energy and language of McKay’s poems, and they complement my own thoughts lately about humans having become entirely too anthropocentric: we’ve forgotten the world from which we come and that we’re only a recent arrival. One of my favourite lines is from “Song for the Song of the Sandhill Crane”: “Where/they call from hominids haven’t yet/happened. Garroo:/who can bear those star-river distances?” And who cannot love “Taking the Ferry”? “And that’s me, later,/lurching the deck, radar-gazing the waves/that blitz us out of darkness, shock troops/for the infinite. And will I know it/when I board the last one?” … “One thing’s for sure:/when its skipper finally/steps out on the bridge, he or she steps/straight from deja vu. So it was you,/all along, we’ll each exclaim, whoozit, buddy,/the one I never recognized but somehow knew,/that patched grey cloak, that slept-in suit,/that face at once a road map and a lava flow,/I should have known, we groan,/as each, laboriously,/ climbs aboard.”


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