Don McKay and the Phenomenology of Stone.
16th January @ 6.00pm
This presentation focuses on the Canadian poet Don McKay’s poetry collection Strike/Slip (2006). It brings McKay’s poetic practice into conversation with both McKay’s own essays on the role of the wild in the contemporary world and with the work of the archaeologist Chris Tilley and his monograph, The Materiality of Stone (2004). McKay uses the contrast between rocks and stone to approach the familiar transformation of nature into culture – the raw into the cooked. He does so through a close engagement with the nature (or essence, to use phenomenological terminology) of rocks/stones. This involves a knowledge of, and poetic use of, the lexicon of geology. Through poetic close attention combined with a working knowledge of geological science, McKay mobilizes rocks/stones to reflect on the this process of engaging and transforming nature as dwelling. The wild diversity of registers (from the scientific to the slang) in McKay’s poems puts the limits and possibilities of language at the center of the ways in which humans dwell on the mineral earth – the ways in which they ceaselessly attempt and fail to engage the wild.
If there is time – the presentation may include some poems from the ‘creative’ part of my thesis which have been informed by the themes of dwelling and travel.
As well as being a PhD candidate in the Creative Writing programme, Tim Cresswell is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of five books including Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction (2013) and On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World (2006). Tim is also a poet who has published widely in national magazines in the UK. His first collection, Soil, is being published by Penned in the Margins in July 2013.
URL: Tim’s blog is called Varve and can be found at tjcresswell.wordpress.com