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Whether speaking in the voices of seventeenth-century French fur trader Pierre Radisson, nineteenth-century British explorer David Thompson, or settler Thomas Scott, the man Louis Riel executed during the Red River Rebellion, Paddy McCallum has an uncanny ability to conjure the slap of a birchbark canoe through northern waters, the sting of "salt-packed/logs set free from boom/and blade and fire," and the scent of reindeer moss, cranberry, and moose scat. Metamorphosis reigns in McCallum's universe. A traveller becomes a gargoyle in an Italian piazza, a man may or may not be a marauding badger stalking prey in a dark forest, a woman's face, so her lover fancies, becomes "a crude/map, an island where her hair falls, /grows over centuries into coral sea." In McCallum's vision, parables are to be found everywhere: in granite, in the roar of unseen rapids, in one of those glass floats anyone might find on a beach, or in the hearts and minds of pilgrims, pioneers and, of course, poets.
|Publication Date||October 16, 2000|