McKay, Don: Lurch
McClelland & Stewart, paperback
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Publisher Marketing: “[McKay’s] 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
An extraordinary collection of poems from Griffin Poetry Prize winner Don McKay.
Old joke: “What’s the difference between a lurch and a dance step?”
“I don’t know.”
“I didn’t think so. Let’s sit down.”
These poems are what happens when you stay out on the dance floor instead, dancing the staggers. The full moon rises from the ocean and you lurch with astonishment that we live on a rocky sphere whirling in space. Or the bird in your hand—a pipit or a storm petrel—conveys the exquisite frailty of existence. And there’s the complex of lurches as we contemplate our complicity in the sixth mass extinction.
Throughout Lurch, language dances its ardent incompetence as a translator of “the profane wonders of the wilderness,” whether manifest as Balsam Fir, Catbirds, the extinct Eskimo Curlew, or the ever-present Cosmic Microwave Background.
What is the difference between a love song and an elegy?
We live between eroding raindrops
and accelerating clocks. The piano
lifts its lid to show its wire-and-hammer