Page Count: 80
Publication Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Cover Artwork: © Michal Durinik | Dreamstime.com
About this Book
Liveaboard: (n) One who lives on a boat; (v) Living aboard a boat.
"In Emily Wall’s second collection of poems, Liveaboard, is used as noun and verb, place and pursuit, a rich metaphor for the ways in which humans and human spirit inhabit community. Wall’s community is largely the harbors and coastlines of British Columbia and Alaska, and in Liveaboard she writes from the deck, the dock, and the rocky shore, providing keen and lyrical insight to what otherwise might be seen as a peripheral existence. But the only edge here is the silver slice of salmon fin or the slanting rain of sudden squall—or perhaps the sharp and essential line of spiritual inquiry, as Eve in that first garden, that threads itself through the fine lines of this book. “Sometimes we just want to cut / our bodies away from the dock,” she begins. By the end she has tucked us into the soft belly of the boat, and though the seas may at times be unforgiving, we have arrived like wind on the sweet sails of the poet’s words at a land both familiar and new. By the end, we find that ‘each one of us is a mapmaker / an explorer, starting new / in love with reigning / over our own, promising lives.’ Simmons Buntin, Editor-in-Chief, Terrain.org and author of Bloom
“In living on a sailing ship, Emily Wall narrowed her life down to that elemental love and gratitude for existence that is hard to remember on the cluttered land. There is a bittersweet witness and affection here too, found in her encounters along the coasts and harbors of the Pacific Northwest, for human fallibility. ‘For what perfection/’ she writes, ‘can last forever?’ With poems as vivid as these, the evanescent moments are held close.” Alison Hawthorne Deming, author, most recently of Rope
“Gazing on jellyfish, the poet asks, ‘Who could resist touching the moon/if it came down, in its thousand little bodies,/and surrounded us?’ Four years on a thirty-seven foot sailboat gave Emily Wall the sustaining metaphors for Liveaboard. She shows us the ‘absent-minded priest’ of a great blue heron and a new life with ‘a few cleats tethering us to shore.’ What wakes us--the rumble of a tugboat churning by--and what doesn't--a friend's drowning, the small wake of her body - these moments haunt. Emily Wall's marvelous poems honor questions and doubts, and speak our desire for belief, for what we once knew, for what we'll never know.” Peggy Shumaker, Alaska State Writer Laureate, and author of Gnawed Bones and Just Breathe Normally
Emily Wall lived aboard her Tayana 37’ sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia for four years. During that time she and her husband cruised a thousand miles on the coast, exploring Puget Sound, the Gulf and San Juan islands, the Sunshine Coast, and up through Desolation Sound. In the fourth summer she sailed from Vancouver to Juneau, Alaska, where she currently lives with her husband and three daughters. She is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast. This is her second book; her first book, Freshly Rooted, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2007.
Read a sample from this book
unfurl on the tongue
like a curl of butter,
melting into the body’s
memory of hunger
and flight and the name
we carried like feathers
before we arrived
in this world—
and weighted ourselves
with solid bones
mini-van soccer practice
Remember being Ruby-throated?
I almost do.
Grace Harbor, Desolation Sound
When we wake the next morning
and look over the side to check the anchor:
jellies, jellies, jellies!
The water around us is a thick carpet
of moon jellies, each little orb pulsing,
rising and falling in the tide swell.
Even though we know better, we can’t help
stretching out our hands, reaching down.
Who could resist touching the moon,
if it came down, in its thousand little bodies,
and surrounded us? Sometimes we need
to be chosen. Sometimes, we need for belief
to be out of our hands.
Copyright © Emily Wall 2012