Don McKay @ Poetry Weekend

A guest post this week from Brandy Robertson, a member of Qwerty’s editorial board. Enjoy!

Brandy knows her way around a book or two.

Brandy knows her way around a book or two.

The Day I Met Don McKay

I did my undergraduate degree at Brandon University (that’s in Manitoba and Brandon’s the second biggest city in the province with a population of about 55,000). In the – I’ll say – third year of my degree I took a class with Di Brandt (an amazing poet and mentor by the way) called Ecopoetics. That class opened my eyes to the world that is incredible poetry and for my final project I wrote two pieces, one about penises and one about vaginas, which I later presented as a slide show accompanied by found images in front of an audience of fellow students, faculty, and administration at the Senior Colloquium that year. Really, though, that’s a whole different story and the point of this rambling is to say that Ecopoetics and Di Brandt introduced me to Don McKay.

McKay at Poetry Weekend in Fredericton.

McKay at Poetry Weekend in Fredericton.

I’ve had Vis à Vis on my bookshelf for a long time (I did my degree part-time so it took me a little, and by a little I mean a lot, longer than it takes most people) so when I heard that Don McKay was coming to Poetry Weekend I was pretty pumped. I try to limit the number of books I pack into my suitcases for the flights from Manitoba to New Brunswick, but, because I knew I was going to get to see Don McKay, in the flesh, I had to include Vis à Vis so I could potentially get it signed.


Poetry Weekend has now come and gone and I am more appreciative than ever of the way the world works sometimes. Don McKay came, he read, he signed my book, we talked about Di, and I smiled the whole time in awe of the man that used to be just a name on a book that I studied in one of the most influential classes of my undergrad. If you haven’t read “Setting the Table” do so right now! I mean it; Google it! It’s brilliant!


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