From Where the Trees are Standing in the Water is the long awaited second collection of acclaimed B.C. poet Paddy McCallum. The poems in this new book are compact, deft and skilfully balanced with the poet’s familiar penchant for historic, philosophical and spiritual twists and curves. Beginning as small, even meditations on ordinary events, many of these new pieces end with unexpected transformations often channeling towards the sublime. But McCallum’s version of the sublime is never predictable, as it is most frequently the result of intangible, oddly ethereal darker forces.
There is a uniquely epic momentum at work here, which culminates in the collection’s final section and haunting revelations of its title poem, winner of both the Millennium Poetry Prize and the National Magazine Award.
From the hunt for salmon off BC’s coast to a pile of bones in the prairie dust, McCallum is guided in his journeys by the ghosts of Northrup Frye, Margaret Avison, and Samuel de Champlain, along with lovers, gods and at the deepest level, the poet’s dead father. From the names of the dying to the shifting names we form for the land itself, Paddy McCallum speaks intimately with them, charting “the paths across your face / that each of us follows / to find you” into that moment in time and space “where one turns / eternally to a marker. while another “brushes snow from his name.”
About the Author
Paddy McCallum‘s poems have been published in Arc, Grain, Canadian Literature, PRISM international, Descant, The Dalhousie Review, Event, Queen’s Quarterly, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, and The Fiddlehead. His books include From Where the Trees are Standing in the Water and Parable Beach. In the year 2000, McCallum won the Arc Millennium Poetry Prize and the National Magazine Award for Poetry. He lives in Gibsons, BC.