“Breathtaking, such mastery in a poet so young…he is a diviner who has mastered metaphor and much else besides.”
Much like the stoic figure from which its title is drawn, there is an aching emptiness at Scarecrow‘s core, a desire for completion invoking contrasting images of life and death, love and loss, and nature and artifice.
Through its short, imagistic studies and longer, meditative poems, Scarecrow maps the triumphs and losses of life and plumbs the depths of human emotion.
Part elegy, part celebration, Scarecrow delves deep into the earth and rides high on the backs of air-born sparrows. Through precise language and lyric composition, the poet walks along the veil between the living and the dead, drawing the reader along on his precarious journey.
Praise for Scarecrow
“This intelligent book will yield more riches with each reading.”
-University of Toronto Quarterly
“The insight, emotional rigour and formal dexterity of such writing serve as important reminders that a young poet can and should be a fully formed poet…”
“Mark Callanan’s voice is distinctive and confident, funny, grave, occasionally visionary, and his technical gifts are multifold.”
-Books in Canada
“Callanan has talent to burn, whether producing his seascapes or nature studies or human-subject poems. His eye is exact, his discipline imagist.”
-The Halifax Chronicle-Herald
“There are readers out there who believe Callanan is going to be one of our best and most enduring poets. He has certainly made a very good start toward fulfilling that promise.”
-The Northeast Avalon Times
At the Butcher’s Shop
Meat is meat and the block of wood,
two inches thick, is all that keeps
the knife from cleaving through the tabletop.
There’s a pig on a hook by the window
that I swear has been eyeing me since I entered,
all two hundred pounds of him split open
and still nothing cut from the edge of his glare.
If it weren’t for the hook he’d run off
madly squealing down the laneway,
past all the market stalls.
And the butcher’s boy watches me as well,
his arms buried to the elbow in guts, apron soaked
with blood and his right eye dancing in its socket.
I ask for beef and edge uneasily away
from the pig as the butcher fills a bag, ties it up
and slaps the change into my palm
with an overhand chop.
There’s something makes me wonder
as I’m walking out:
Can the butcher, with all the blood on his hands
and his smock, his arms
crossed heavily against his chest,
resist the urge to see each passing animal
as two steps away from the chopping block?