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Rooted in the harsh yet beautiful landscape of Alaska, this collection of poems is at once comforting and disquieting, permeated with wisdom, darkness, and resilience. Taken together, the poems form a powerful narrative, as Julie Hungiville LeMay relates
a personal story of the recurrence of cancer and interweaves it with an account of her son’s struggle with addiction In a world of so much pain, her poems ask, how can we find meaning? The answer often is nature: among “spruce branches that whisper” and
“the yellow joy / of warblers". Half-found poems that contain lines from John Muir’s essays are arranged throughout the book like touchstones, while other poems invoke the spirit of Wordsworth. LeMay’s voice is precise and clear, her lines musical and sonically rich, making this ambitious, wide-ranging book one that readers won’t soon forget.
For anyone who loves or studies poetry or wants to visit the secret chambers of the heart or rediscover the places and mountains of the West.
—Western American Literature
This is poetry, it seems, for anyone who has suffered from illness or addiction, whether directly or indirectly. This is poetry for anyone who is drawn to the North. The poems in the collection bear this out; there is a great deal for readers to connect with, an intricate braiding of narratives reminding us that life and death are indivisible.
In seeking peace and meaning, LeMay looks to nature and to Buddhist practice. The mood is solemn but not somber. Hope is found despite her trials.
—The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Julie Hungiville LeMay was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, but has lived in Alaska’s Matanuska Valley since 1978.