Caribou Run

Richard Kelly Kemick

Caribou Run

At one moment, a pure abstraction; at the next, an incontrovertible presence of hooves, antlers, and fur. The beating heart of this assured début by Richard Kelly Kemick is the Porcupine caribou herd of the western Arctic.

In Caribou Run, Richard Kelly Kemick orchestrates a suite of poems both encyclopedic and lyrical, in which the caribou is both metaphor and phenomenon; both text and exegesis. He explores what we share with this creature of blood and bone and what is hidden, alien, and ineffable.

Following the caribou through their annual cycle of migration, Kemick experiments with formal and thematic variations that run from lyric studies of the creature and its environment, to found poems that play with the peculiar poetry of scientific discourse, to highly personal poems that find resonance in the caribou as a metaphor and a guiding spirit. Running the gamut from long-lined free verse and ghazal form to tightly controlled tankas and interwoven rhyme schemes, Caribou Run serves notice that a formidable new talent has been let loose on the terrain of Canadian poetry. (From the publisher)


On the southern shore,

the water offers up the herd

back to the barren ground;

save for a bull who

slipped his hoof between

subsurface boulders. Grizzlies

wait downstream, pawing the rapids.

Rolled onto his back,

the current pulls him into itself,

as the water becomes of him

as much as he has been of it.

From Caribou Run by Richard Kelly Kemick ©2016. Published by Icehouse Poetry.