Spotlight on Alaska Books: Unbound, by Katie Eberhart

Life With Vegetables
Not a tradition. Yet. Or is it
a one-time shot where initial conditions
of dirt
(a continuous
and H – 2 – O from the sky combine to
magnificent roots that achieve colors
like vermilion,
creamy buckskin, and opaque amber.
Colors that I cannot shake,
the firmness of flesh engorged by
rain-soaked soil
so that a carrot eased out of the earth
in a reversal of
up not down
just touching it, the pressure of soft
it snaps like rocks fracturing
far up a valley. I hold
a broken star.
Still life with root vegetables, the
image I cradle
more than a recipe—an entire history
food    fire
roots dug mud-caked with cold feet.
My still-life smells of musky ground and
heavy names
like Bull’s Blood and Saint Valery. The
beet yields,
knife-cleaved into alternating rings
. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
(Unbound: Alaska Poems
by Katie Eberhart)
The poems in Unbound: Alaska Poems
come from my experience living in Alaska. A poem is likely to start with an
observation (“Shiny cottonwood leaves covet the tulip’s flaming blush, a blush
is not a bush, a bush might be brush. . . .”) and include people (“Cutting and
bagging. Bagging and calculating. Always calculating.”) as well as an
observation of our often delicate relationship with nature (“A spider steps out
of the crack and looks at / the obscene destruction. . . .”). Influences
include Hans Christian Andersen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gertrude Stein, Alaskan
composer John Luther Adams, the Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs, and a
neighbor’s loose pony. After reading these poems, you may think differently of
backyard freezing and thawing or the three miles of street lighting along the
Glenn Highway across the Palmer Hay Flats. My concerns are with understanding
our relationship with our surroundings—from bones and ice to hot springs,
berry-picking, root vegetables, the Palmer water tower, misplaced or cast off items,
Nature, and luck.
“‘Sometimes there aren’t enough other worlds,’ Katie Eberhart writes, and so we pay close
attention to this one. We dry-scrub silver lichens off old barn walls in the
Matanuska Valley of Alaska. We consider in the last decades of our lives a
granite tor’s gradual crumbling. We watch for trees blazed long ago, the trail
marked ten feet high. Sensual and meditative, Katie Eberhart’s poems light our
way.” —Peggy Shumaker, author of Toucan Nest
“In these ‘frozen dreams,’ Alaska is both emotional geography and physical
landscape. Ice flow to cave sounds, Katie Eberhart uses experimental forms to
mirror a vast range of experience as she finds her own ‘quicksilver light.’” —Judith Kitchen, author of Half in Shade
Katie Eberhart lived in
Alaska with her husband Chuck Logsdon from 1979 through 2011 where she worked
as a researcher, economist, and data analyst. In 2010, Katie earned her MFA in
Creative Writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran
University. Katie’s poems have appeared in Cirque, Sand Journal (Berlin), Crab
Creek Review, Verseweavers, Elohi Gadugi Journal, and other places. Katie and
Chuck now live in Bend, Oregon where Katie has earned an Oregon Master
Naturalist certificate and blogs about Nature & Literature at
Unbound: Alaska Poems was published in 2013 by Uttered Chaos Press. Katie is a
member of 49 Writers.
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