Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear
A few days ago – which will be many days ago by the time you read this – I watched robins, red-winged blackbirds, mallards, and a pair of swallows darting through shadows making them difficult to identify. Birds Art Life is a book I’ve read and re-read, in times of difficulty and in times of relative ease. It always brings me comfort. It may be that the book takes me to familiar perches in Toronto parks, talks to my younger self who cherished a bird atlas and a pack of coloured pencils, or that Maclear wrote while caregiving for an ill and aging father. Moving from one December to the next, shifting between internal and external landscapes, Birds Art Life strikes me as a book that wasn’t written about life, but with life. Grounded in experience, the book holds a hand lens to the head, heart, and body – those primary, secondary, and tertiary feathers, not necessarily in that order.
Laboni Islam was born in Canada to Bangladeshi parents. Her poem “Lunar Landing, 1966” was shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize (2017). She is the author of the chapbook Light Years (Baseline, 2022).
Read Laboni Islam's poetry in Issue 296 (Summer Poetry 2023)