An excerpt from The Best Canadian Poetry 2010, “Introduction: Holding Feathers in Your Teeth”

INTRODUCTION: HOLDING FEATHERS IN YOUR TEETH

Naming takes place almost immediately after creation in the Book of Genesis. God, who perhaps understood the difficulty of the task, washed his hands of it and gave the responsibility to the man he’d just moulded from clay and spittle. There are two different kinds of Adams, according to Don McKay in one of his talks about poetry. The one who is the scientist, Don says, observes the animals, names them, and goes home happy to a warm supper and a good sleep, his job complete. The Adam who is the poet observes them, names them, goes home, and can’t eat or sleep. He knows he didn’t get it right and has to try again. And again.


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