Don McKay is a poet who is fascinated with geology. I am a printmaker who loves using the old letterpresses at the Coaker Foundation’s Advocate Press. Because Port Union is home to an exciting fossil, Haootia Quadriformis, and because fossils are a kind of print, I suggested to Don that he write a poem and I create a print about it. The result was a collaboration that was launched on Thanksgiving Day weekend 2019, at the Coaker Foundation’s Factory in Port Union and Little Catalina. The image on the right, “Tern and Seaweed” was created for the first stanza of Don’s first poem, and is an etching and cyanotype combination.
In a future blog I will write about this experience, but for now this is a reposting of my October announcement of the project’s celebratory launch.
Don McKay: Don’s writing has been marked, for the last few decades, by an interest in geology and deep time. This is evident in books of poetry like Strike/Slip and Paradoxides (NTS) and books of essays like Deactivated West 100 and The Shell of the Tortoise (Gaspereau). He has a great deal of experience teaching creative writing (Western University, UNB) and editing (Brick Books, The Banff Centre, Piper’s Frith). For this project with Jennifer Morgan, he has been concentrating on fossils (eg. Haootia quadriformis, Aspidella terranovica) found on various sites on the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas.
Jennifer Morgan: Jennifer has illustrated seven books, including the graphic novel Almost Home: the Sinking of the S.S. Caribou (Breakwater, 2012) which won the Heritage and History Award for Young Adult writing. In 2015 Jennifer was a resident artist in the Coaker Foundation’s Advocate Press. Since then she has used every excuse she could find to create art in this space. This past spring Jennifer founded the Advocate Guardian program, where artists who have been in-serviced on the press can use it on a drop in basis in season.
This project was sponsored by ArtsNL: