Blue Light, Bay and College

Blue Light, Bay and College

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Blue Light, Bay and College

Kathleen McCracken

6 X 9 inches, 72 pages

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 27

PUSHING HER PREVIOUS EXPLORATIONS of place to new limits, Kathleen McCracken breaks ground with Blue Light, Bay and College. Shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1992, this is highly visual poetry, and there is a sense that each 'location' is composed with the photographer's eye for telling incongruity, the painter's awareness of light and colour, line and shape. Ontario, the American Southwest, France, Italy and Ireland bring correlative landscapes of heart and mind into sharp focus. The book's four parts take us through territory that is by turns strange and familiar, arriving at a flash-point where recognition and language coincide. Drawing the sight-lines together is a voice as inquisitive as it is assured, that refuses to say anything away.

They've traded skins again
sit studying their colours
startling the store-fronts opposite.

Bold colours, red and blue
bold as the things they offer to exchange:
his dreams a net-
work of poems she says,
her migrations west and east
and west again
his mapwork out from home.

Tell again
how the lemur and ocelot are one
and the same beast
sleeps in the coyote and the kingfisher:
differences are a small question
of rings and spots.

This stepping into rivers
is a game they've grown good at.
His hand plays lightly in the splayed current
and she is a blue fish
caved in the drifting palm.

Blue Fish


Kathleen McCracken


Kathleen McCracken was born in Dundalk, Ontario, in 1960. After spending time on Vancouver Island, she studied Irish literature and creative writing at York University and the University of Toronto. She now lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her first book of poetry, Reflections, was published in 1978 (Fiddlehead) and was followed by Into Celebrations (Coach House Press) in 1980. Penumbra Press published McCracken's The Constancy of Objects in 1988 and Blue Light, Bay and College in 1991.

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