Canadian nature poet Don McKay is the new writer-in-residence at Memorial, and will be giving his first public reading tonight (Thursday) at 7:30pm in the Music Building’s Petro-Canada Hall.
McKay’s poetry is concerned with the essential “otherness” or “wilderness” of things, not just in the outdoor regions we normally understand to be meant by the word “nature,” but also in our everyday encounters with the “wilderness” within our own homes–the hum of your fridge, for example, or your dog’s wet snout, which McKay would liken to “baseball gloves and vulvas, organs/ who embrace their guests in velvet” (“Esthetique du Chien”).
McKay thinks of the poet’s vocation as a state of attentive readiness for such encounters. He compares its prerequisites to the set of skills required of birdwatchers–”a kind of suspended expectancy, tools at the ready, full awareness that the creatures cannot be compelled to appear.”
As writer-in-residence, McKay will be making himself available to meet with local aspiring writers by appointment to discuss their writing with them. You are asked to leave a sample of your writing at the English Department office (Arts & Administration Building, Room 3026) beforehand. In the meantime, why not take this opportunity to introduce yourself to the man himself, tonight at the Music Building.
– Jonathan Adams