This chapbook of poetry is set in a rich Alaskan landscape. Throughout these poems, place, weather, and nature are the vehicle through which family, motherhood, parenting, and marriage are explored. There is a sense of longing and loss, renewal and wonder, that leaves the reader wanting more.
Cover art “Shared Dreams” by Juneau artist Lora Brown
In this new collection of poems, Mistee St. Clair yearns. In each poem we see a leaning toward the natural world, in both its darkness (“the sky an old brown bruise”) and in its light (“salted fish, clean and inviting”). This eco-poet puts the tastes, smells, and sounds of the wild world first, and allows her Alaskan landscapes to interpret the stories of her life. These poems are “tiny hearts, beating against our loose grip” and like a bird unexpectedly caught, we hold them, riveted.
– Emily Wall, Professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast, and author of Flame and Liveaboard.
Within these pages, Mistee St. Clair grapples for footing in familiar, yet shifting, landscapes: parenting, adolescent transformation and Alaska’s increasingly erratic climate. “It’s the only way // to keep going. What we have is good / footing, enough anchors to hold.” A sense of vulnerability and longing pervades these poems and yet moments of inward retreat give way to the promise of seasonal emergence, of bloom. The give and take of marriage and mothering play out in unexpected ways, sharpening knives, climbing crabapple trees. The struggle is real, summers are brief but bright, winters begin in fall and are far too long. I expect those who spend time with Mistee St. Clair’s poems will find“a magnetic, familiar pulse.”
-Jonas Lamb, Poet & Associate Professor of Library & Information Science, University of Alaska Southeast