Approaching Ice

Elizabeth Bradfield, Author . Persea $15 (102p) ISBN 978-0-89255-355-6

Few books of new poems stick as tightly to one topic as Bradfield's second effort: a long set of poems about polar explorers, from a 19th-century “freeze-up/ on Hudson Bay, the limestone pools inset/ with Precambrian shell,” to the fatal expedition of Robert Scott, from James Weddell to Louise Arner Boyd, a “California socialite turned explorer” who “never married/ but lived with Greenland as hearth and lodestone.” Prose poems built around sentences about ice from Nathaniel Bowditch's The American Practical Navigator interrupt what would otherwise be a steady chain of verse portraits, poetic snapshots, and adventure tales about expeditions to the coldest and least hospitable places on earth. Dogs and ponies are sacrificed, or sacrifice themselves; seals, at home in the cold, show by contrast how alien these “unintuitive lands” remain for us, with their “proof/ that imagination is not useless.” Bradfield, who lives on Cape Cod, assembles memorable facts about faraway sites and exciting, rough lives. Too often, though, it's hard to see what benefit those facts and those sites get from their incorporation, not into essays, museum exhibits or documentary films, but into poems. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.