An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife - Katie Vautour - E-Book

An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife E-Book

Katie Vautour

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Beschreibung

Katie Vatour’s extraordinary debut collection is an eclectic examination of the space where humans and animals meet, where migratory patterns encounter commercial flights, and birds appear as fishermen, security guards, and street performers. There are riffs on the chameleon and lyrebird, odes to buffalo and shark. With poems that are at once intuitive yet idiosyncratic, visceral yet cerebral, and that flourish an unconventional sense of effortless motion, An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife considers how animals exist in our lives and imaginations: as autonomous beings, as mimics and metaphors of our own lives, and as bellwethers of environmental damage. At times humourous, tragic, or both, these poems tell the story of natural existence in a sometimes unnatural world.

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BREAKWATER P.O. Box 2188, St. John’s, NL, Canada, A1C 6E6 WWW.BREAKWATERBOOKS.COM

A CIP CATALOGUE RECORD FOR THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE FROM LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

COPYRIGHT ©2019 Katie VautourISBN 978-1-55081-768-3FRONT COVER Skeleton Animal ©Shutterstock

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit www.accesscopyright.ca or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador through the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development for our publishing activities.

PRINTED AND BOUND IN CANADA.

Breakwater Books is committed to choosing papers and materials for our books that help to protect our environment. To this end, this book is printed on a recycled paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council®.

TO JOHN BROWNE AND HIS DAUGHTER, SUSAN BROWNE, FOR THEIR INSPIRATION AND KINDNESS

CONTENTS

BIRD AIRCRAFT STRIKE HAZARD (B.A.S.H.)

THE OSTRICH

THE BUFFALO IS A PUZZLING CREATURE

GARGOYLE

STREET FOOD

BIRDWATCHER

THE LYREBIRD

AN UNORTHODOX GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE OF NEW BRUNSWICK

TWO STREET PERFORMERS IN OAXACA

PENGUINS

THE FISHERMAN

THE THREE ORDERS OF GULLS IN ST. JOHN’S

RIFF ON A CHAMELEON

MILITARY SURVIVAL TRAINING

BUT MY HORN SHALT THOU EXALT

AQUARIUM

THIEF ON THE RANCH

GIRAFFE

NORTHERN GOSHAWK IN THE SALMONIER NATURE PARK

AN ACCIDENT

REASONS FOR FIRE IN THE ROCKIES

OLD WORLD SAND BOA

FOR THE GREAT SHARK (NOT NECESSARILY WHITE)

THE POINTER WIFE

ROCKY HARBOUR BLUE WHALE

HOW TO GET A CLAM TO OPEN UP TO YOU

THE BUTTERFLY

WAYWARD GOOSE IN WINTER

SEA URCHINS

WASP NEST

COCOON

HAVANA

THE PEACOCK AT THE ZOO

OCEAN

ROCK AND GEM SHOP, BANFF

THE TERRARIUM

DESERT

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

BIRD AIRCRAFT STRIKE HAZARD (B.A.S.H.)

Finding himself able, the cranking Icarus honks south.

Made of lift and movement, he disregards conditions,

intersecting the path of flight AC 667 to Toronto.

He meets the turbine head-on in the tug            of air that won’t let go,

pounds and pounds      of pressure

collapsing breath

as he whips up into the engine.

Hot steel snaps            tendons, scorches feathers,

melts hollow shafts.

Somewhere under all this, wrenching bones.

Metal and wire wings depart skyward as

the bird is cast back to land.

Moulting liquid light, sun-            burnt fragments                  of desire—            the deep      plunge

bringing him

down.

THE OSTRICH

bats      a long-lashed eye. Hoping for some lift,                  puffing      plumage, she takes off      sprinting.

                 Her reverse-pedalling            legs go about this      the wrong way—                  tripping,            she stops      in her flight. The ostrich bends            over      backwards, fixing fly-aways, ruffling her feather-      duster skirt,      her maid’s outfit. Her make-up,

really, is avian, but inside

her head is nothing but bald                        lies.

She’s an old broad      bird      who should brush off            lofty dreams,

but she’s always lived with her head in the clouds                  nestled            around      her neck.

THE BUFFALO IS A PUZZLING CREATURE