Another Gravity Paperback – Apr 1 2000
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All of Don McKay's books of poetry are marked by a rigorous intelligence, a profound feel for language, and a lightness of touch. Another Gravity, his ninth collection, won Canada's premier book prize in 2000, the Governor General's Award, as his earlier collection Night Field did in 1991. McKay has an uncanny ability to bring together the complex and meaningful with the mundane. In "Sometimes a Voice (1)," a few friends shingle a boathouse roof, drinking beer and "discussing gravity." But the simple scene turns into the contemplation of a friend's disappearance, his hammer stuck inside his boots. There is a constant play in this book between gravity and its opposite, whether expressed as air, sky, wind, wings, or feathers. But the primary focus of attention is the moon, which appears in numerous poems, not as a sentimental reflection of romantic notions, but as a centre of gravity, a guide in the art of reflection.
McKay's sheer delight in language is infectious. The poems are sprinkled with startling, original turns of phrase: the moon is a "black belly-button swirl," a luna moth is "a scrap of wedding dress." In "Angle of Attack," McKay states his poetic approach clearly: "we needed duct tape, a philosophy of feathers / and a plan: what to / fall for, gracefully, / and without too much / deliberation, how to mix / the mysticism with the ash and live / next door to nothing, / and with art." There is no doubt McKay belongs in the top rank of poets writing in English today. --Mark Frutkin
"He uses language with the greatest facility: a whole line or even a single word will vibrate like a tuning fork."
–Globe and Mail