Paddy McCallum's poems have been published in Arc, Grain, Canadian Literature, PRISM international, Descant, The Dalhousie Review, Event, Queen's Quarterly, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, and The Fiddlehead. His work has also appeared in the anthology On the Threshold: Writing Toward the Year 2000. Recently he won the Arc Millennium Poetry Prize. He lives in Gibsons, BC.
Whether speaking in the voices of seventeenth-century French fur trader Pierre Radisson, nineteenth-century British explorer David Thompson, or settler Thomas Scott, the man Louis Riel executed during the Red River Rebellion, Paddy McCallum has an uncanny ability to conjure the slap of a birchbark canoe through northern waters, the sting of "salt-packed/logs set free from boom/and blade and fire," and the scent of reindeer moss, cranberry, and moose scat. Metamorphosis reigns in McCallumâ€™s universe. A traveller becomes a gargoyle in an Italian piazza, a man may or may not be a marauding badger stalking prey in a dark forest, a womanâ€™s face, so her lover fancies, becomes "a crude/map, an island where her hair falls,/grows over centuries into coral sea." In McCallumâ€™s vision, parables are to be found everywhere: in granite, in the roar of unseen rapids, in one of those glass floats anyone might find on a beach, or in the hearts and minds of pilgrims, pioneers and, of course, poets.