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  • Camber
  • Written by Don McKay
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780771057656
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  • Camber
  • Written by Don McKay
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781551996677
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List Price: $15.99


On Sale: October 14, 2014
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-1-55199-667-7
Published by : McClelland & Stewart McClelland & Stewart
Camber Cover

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The poetry of Don McKay is renowned for its piquant wit, lyric emotion, and pitch-perfect vernacular music. His work has received national acclaim and the recognition of many awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, which he has won twice, and, most recently, from the prestigious and internationally known Griffin Poetry Prize, for which his most recent book was a finalist.

Camber is the lilt in the physics of flight, the anti-gravitational alchemy of both wings and poetry. It is also at the heart of the poetry of Don McKay. Spanning three decades, and drawing on all of McKay’s major collections, this selection distills the essence of his craft and provides an overview of, and an ideal introduction to, the work to date of one of Canada’s most celebrated poets.



Leaving home is the beginning of resemblance.
— David Seymour

On leaving, you circulate among the things you own
to say farewell, properly,
knowing they will not cease to exist
after your departure, but go,
slowly, each in its own way,
So long and thanks, with one last chop, tap,
twiddle. It won’t work just to
flip them into negatives — minus T-shirt, minus Roger
Tory Peterson both east and west —
nor to convert them into liquid
assets. This is no yard sale, this is loss,
whose interior is larger than its shell, the way you wish
home was. Do not dig the dog’s bones up
nor the rosebush by the porch.
Choose a few companions of no weight —
a crow feather found in the parking lot,
the strawsmell of her hair, a few
books of the dead, 1000
Best Loved Puns
. And leave. There is a loneliness
which must be entered rather than resolved, the moon’s
pull on the roof which made those asphalt shingles
shine. A time for this,
a time for that, a time to let them both escape into
whateverness, a time to cast
away stones, to stop
building and remembering and building artful
monuments upon the memories.
To leave.
To step off into darker darkness,
that no moon we call new.

A Word about the Poem by Don McKay
This poem was originally published in my book Another Gravity. The poems in that collection are taken up with three large subjects — home, moon, and flight — each of which exerts a gravitational pull on the others. “On Leaving” investigates departure as a human urge on its own, a complement to our vaunted capacity to build dwellings and histories. It suspects that the startling, oblique insights of metaphor stem from that urge, rather than from our primary, perpendicular constructions — which Wallace Stevens, in a poem on metaphor, called the “hammer of red and blue.” I wanted to find words to probe the power of loss implicit in leaving, while doing justice to its attendant pain.
Don McKay

About Don McKay

Don McKay - Camber

Photo © Jan Zwicky

Don McKay is the multi-award-winning author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Paradoxides; Strike/Slip, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize; and Camber: Selected Poems, a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize. McKay is also known as a poetry editor, and he has taught poetry in universities across the country. He presently lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Praise | Awards


“There may be no other poet in Canada who has such a fine ear for rhythm, for presenting an image that haunts you even in your sleep.…”
Edmonton Journal

“Don McKay is a poet of the senses, not merely of their fingertip interactions with the world, but of the deeper senses, the bone experience of life.”
London Free Press

“This is a poetry of extraordinary inventiveness and linguistic verve.… One of our finest poets.”
–Montreal Gazette


FINALIST 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize

  • Camber by Don McKay
  • March 16, 2004
  • Poetry
  • McClelland & Stewart
  • $19.99
  • 9780771057656

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