Sea Legend and Other Poems (Mark Callanan)

Sea Legend and Other Poems (Mark Callanan)

Narrated by the author
Listening Time: Approx. 25 minutes
10-digit ISBN: n/a
13-digit ISBN: 978-1-926919-05-8

At the centre of Sea Legend and Other Poems is a sequence of nautically themed pieces in which images of mermaids recur, suggesting a tension between the immortalizing capabilities of legend and the finite nature of life. Like the giant squid in a museum case from the poem “Kraken,” their presence and passing function as memento mori.

Mark Callanan is one of Canada’s “best young and established writers” (Daniel Wells, Canadian Notes and Queries). Sea Legend and Other Poems includes poems originally published in Callanan’s chapbook Sea Legend (Frog Hollow Press, 2010), which was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Poetry Award and won an Alcuin Society award for book design, and a selection of previously unpublished poems.

Whitbourne's Mermaid

She was visible for a moment only,
long enough the captain knew
for certain that he’d seen her,

her breasts like delicate sand dollars,
a wake of hair trailing down her neck;
more girl in form than woman, really.

But that beauty, that rare creature
must have recognized something
wolfish in his gaze, for she turned

tail and buried herself beneath
the waves. Rumour has it
he followed and caught her, emerged

stark naked and dripping water,
praising sea legends
and the siren’s element.

Though, once, while liquored up
on heavy grog and singing
every ballad we could think of,

he confessed the seam of her dive
was a quiet furrow, a locked oyster shell
and other veiled analogies.

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