A pitch-perfect debut and a call to act in the service of Earth through radiant attention.
Humankind, at present, has breached floodgates that have only been breached before in ancient stories of angry gods, or so far back on geologic and biological timelines as to seem more past than past. Against this catastrophic backdrop (at the end of consolations, at the high-water mark), and equipped with a periscopic eye and a sublime metaphorical reach, poet Dan MacIsaac has crowded his debut vessel with sloths and gipsy-birds, mummified remains and bumbling explorers, German expressionists and Neolithic cave-painters.
MacIsaac knows that in order to render a thing in language, description itself must be open to metamorphosis and transformation; each thing must be seen alongside, overtop of, and underneath everything else that has been seen. With the predominant "I" of so many poetic debuts almost entirely absent, Cries from the Ark is catalogue and cartography of our common mortal--and moral--lot.
"These poems are fecund as black dirt, as carnal and joyous. Each piece is an owl pellet, a concentrate of bone and tuft, of bison, auk and Beothuk. Not since Eric Ormsby's Araby have I read a book so empathic and so glossarily rich. Fair warning, MacIsaac: I'll be stealing words from you for years." --Sharon McCartney
"MacIsaac sings a raven's work, sings the guts from our myths, sings our world with the breath that 'for a century/ of centuries / only the wild grass / remembered.' Present but acquainted with antiquity, MacIsaac's instrument is our own breathing as we say these poems of reverence to ourselves." --Matt Rader
Raised on Vancouver Island, Dan MacIsaac is a third-generation lawyer and served for ten years as a director on the board of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria. His poetry, verse translations, and fiction have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals and magazines. One of his stories was short-listed for the 2009 CBC Literary Awards, one of his poems received the 2014 Foley Prize from America Magazine, and another poem was short-listed for the 2015 Walrus Poetry Prize. He lives in Victoria.
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