Written while riding the ferry across Puget Sound, Liz Kellebrew’s poems explore the liminal places between cities and forests, animals and people, the sky and the sea. This gorgeous and impactful debut gazes unflinchingly at the twin crises of climate change and human hubris, urging us to look closer at the creatures who co-exist with us in the space between wild and tame.
Whether it’s a salmon riding in the trough between waves, a cormorant flexing on a harbor buoy, a tourist on the ferry, or a toad on the ridge of a nebula somewhere in the Milky Way, we are prompted to ask, What is the wavelength of a soul? What new ways of being will emerge as our world changes? Will we embrace the bodies of the unknowable future?
With equal parts wonder and humor, Kellebrew calls our attention to the strangeness and beauty of nature and our place in it, inviting us to fall in love with this open book called living.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I started writing poems as a way to pass the time on my ferry commutes. There's so much to observe on a Puget Sound ferry ride: the mountains and marine environment, gulls and trees and fellow passengers, to name just a few.
My observations connected with feelings, memories, and my imagination, and all of it came out in these poems. Eventually, I had enough poems for a book manuscript.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
In a way, nature plays the part of several reappearing characters in my book. The waves, weather, fish, birds, and animals in this book all take on a life of their own.
The people are part of nature, too, and they appear as passersby on the ferry boat or, in some cases, as imagined characters (like Finn, a prehistoric hunter-gatherer-explorer who appears in multiple poems).
At times, the ferry itself is a character. Riding the same boat as often as I did, I got to know its particular sights, sounds, smells, and other quirks.
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