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Topic: Tom Pow

Introducing Don McKay

In “Fridge Nocturne”, a short poem near the beginning of Don McKay’s selected poems, the sleepless poet lies listening to the sound of his fridge, ‘the old/armless weeping willow of the kitchen’. The fridge’s “Humble murmur” brings to his mind several distant rivers–“the Saugeen, the Goulais/the Raisin”. The permeability of the border between the domestic world and the wilderness which lies beyond it marks a landscape whose vastness teaches early that, “Lonely is a knife whose handle fits the mind/too well, its oldest and most hospitable friend” (“Nocturnal Animals”). However, “There is a loneliness/ which must be entered rather than resolved” (“On Leaving”) and to enter the wilderness with Don McKay is to have the sharpest, most informed and responsive guide.