One of Canada’s most prominent poets has assumed the role of writer in residence at Memorial University this week. Two-time Governor General Award-winning poet and wilderness essayist Don McKay will talk with aspiring and established writers, visit university classes and give public readings throughout the fall semester.
Sponsored by Memorial’s Department of English and the Faculty of Arts, the writer in residence serves as a resource for the entire community. Mr. McKay is available to meet with writers at any stage, working in any genre. This service is provided free of charge, and is available to everyone, not just those with ties to the university.
In addition to writing numerous books of poetry and non-fiction and winning several national awards, Mr. McKay is the co-editor and co-publisher of Brick Books, the associate director of poetry for the Banff Centre’s writers’ program and a faculty member of In the Field. Formerly, he was the director of Creative Writing at the University of New Brunswick, and editor of The Fiddlehead.
While in the province, he intends to take in some of the natural attractions that Newfoundland offers. “I always try to relate to the natural world,” he said. “It doesn’t just feed my writing, it’s the basis of it.”
His most recent book of poetry, Strike/Slip, plays off the geological and mineralogical features in his home province of British Columbia. “I’m very interested in geology, so Newfoundland was an obvious place to come,” he said, adding “I’m not done with rocks – or I guess rocks aren’t done with me.”
Writers who wish to meet with Mr. McKay are asked to drop off a sample of their work to the university’s English Department office (Arts and Administration Building, Room A3026), and Mr. McKay will contact the writer to schedule an appointment. Or to simply arrange a meeting, leave a message at 754-2154.
He does, however, prefer to see work in advance of a meeting. “It’s better if I can spend a little time with the writing beforehand.”
Starting on Sept. 13th, Mr. McKay will also hold drop-in office hours in the Arts and Administration building, Room A 2047. These will usually occur from 1-4 p.m. on Wednesdays (with some exceptions in October, to allow Mr. McKay to travel to other areas of the province). Mr. McKay’s readings will be publicized, and calendared on today.mun.ca.