Kelly Shepherd is a Canadian poet who recently spent some time teaching in South Korea. The Bony World is a pamphlet of poetry that focuses on animals and our relationships with them from rescuing sea turtles to accidentally killing a butterfly chrysalis. There is a strong sense of magic relating to the animals, for example the magpie in one for sorrow is the 'only fixed point in the universe' and the bear in taboo deformation being the 'one who turns the heavens.' Loss permates the poems too, often with the sense of us losing our rightful balance with the natural world, as in the stone turtle:
People said as long as the stone turtle was there,
the real turtles would be there too
The stone turtle has been damaged by people wanting souvenirs and although this poem doesn't specifically state that there are no more real turtles on this beach, that is certainly the conclusion the reader reaches.
This is a collection imbued with reverence for animal life, written with an eye for detail and a sense of wonder.
from inter canem et lupum
restless sheep dreaming nights
careful tread around the borders of campfire light
high, thin, hungry, howling
you divide yourself in half, in thirds,
into a whole circle of coyotes
so you have someone to sing with
This is not just a book of wonderful poetry, it's also a beautiful looking book, printed on a lovely cream, textured paper with cover art by Erin Candela.
The Bony World by Kelly Shepherd published by The Rasp and the Wine
I was delighted to be offered a review copy of this book and I sent a copy of my chapbook Unthinkable Skies in return.
You can read some of Kelly's poetry on Bolts of Silk here.
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