Prayer in Wind (Paperback)

Prayer in Wind By EVA SAULITIS Cover Image

Prayer in Wind (Paperback)

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After a devastating diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, biologist and poet Eva Saulitis found herself gripped by a long-buried childhood urge to pray.  Finding little solace in the rote “from the fox-hole please Gods” arising unbidden in her head, she set herself the task of examining the impulse itself, waking every morning in darkness to write poems, driven on by the questions: What is prayer? What am I praying to? What am I praying for? Who is listening? Each day’s poem proposed a new and surprising answer as, over two years, she traced the questions back to her origins, her Latvian roots, her peasant grandmother, her war-haunted father, her secret-bearing mother, her childhood Catholicism, her obsession with the natural world.  Moving from inward to outward, among radically different geographies (coastal Alaska, Latvia, and Hawaii) and spiritual influences (Catholicism, mysticism, Zen Buddhism) as well as forms, these biologically precise poems range widely in their search.   Unexpectedly, these prayer-poems, forged out of a solitary confrontation with death, take a reader not out of, but deeper into physicality—of the body, the earth, and language itself.  As Saulitis learns, what is most desired is not transcendence, but for as long as possible, “her hands thrust deep in the world.”
Poet and marine biologist Eva Saulitis has studied orcas in Prince William Sound, Alaska, since 1983 with her partner Craig Matkin. She is the author of Prayer in Wind (poetry); Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss Among Vanishing Orcas (memoir); Many Ways to Say It (poetry); and Leaving Resurrection (essays). Her work has appeared in many journals, including Crazyhorse, Ecotone, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, On Earth, Salon, and Orion. A recipient of the 2013 Governor’s Award for the Humanities, she lives in Homer, Alaska.  
Product Details ISBN: 9781597094436
ISBN-10: 1597094439
Publisher: Boreal
Publication Date: January 6th, 2015
Pages: 128
Language: English
“‘You showed me / a bog candle. // Nothing’s been / the same since then.’ With these simple words, Eva Saulitis shows how true life is lived when tiny changes occur. With her attention attuned to inner and outer landscapes, Eva writes poems that are a testament to the precarious splendor of this world.”
—Arthur Sze
 
“Eva Saulitis explores the web of connections between nature, science, longing, illness, and the continually shifting boundaries of the mind. In these poems, we navigate a course through beauty, terror, and mystery in order to reach a place for which the only maps are prayers.”
—Camille Dungy
 
“Prayer is often an inward gesture; the self in contemplation, in quiet reflection or retreat, eyes closed and hands still. The prayer-poems of Eva Saulitis’s newest book, however, reach out as they reach in. They give attention to the birds, family, friends, machinery, history, skies and horizons. The fact that illness, which can be such an isolating and alienating experience, finally brings the poet into this rich, nuanced relationship with the world is both moving and inspiring. Prayer in Wind is a hymn to life itself and all that conspires to make it meaningful.”
—Elizabeth Bradfield