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Broken by Water: Salish Sea Years, Poems by Gary Thompson
In Broken by Water: Salish Sea Years, the contemporary world is suffused with the past, a world where even the briefest moments are layered with meaning: widgeons spooked into flight echo the horror of orcas being captured in a quaint harbor; clouds storming north are like a massive spring migration and make human life seem insignificant; a raven's croak underscores the outrage of old-growth devastation; one vandalized grave portends the end of our world. These poems are alive in the moment precisely because they bring the dark, often forgotten, past into the light.
"In Broken by Water: Salish Sea Years, poet and seasoned sailor Gary Thompson gives us not only a love song to life afloat, but to life on an island and all the ways our lives in the Northwest are shaped by water. From poems based on the journals of early explorer James Swan to his attentive chronicling of ravens, owls and chickadees, he invites us to consider the consequences of the settlers' arrival on the First Nations and our fellow inhabitants. Thanks to Thompson's quiet, evocative imagery and clear-eyed vision, like the Greek poet Cavafy, in the end we arrive fully at the island with a deeper appreciation for all its inhabitants and for our own complex, layered Northwest history. Interspersed with recollections of life at sea, this collection will satisfy sailors and land dwellers alike, all who value a life well lived, deeply in tune with its surroundings."-Holly J. Hughes
"There is a poetry that comes from poets wise enough to reside in a place and let it enter into themselves over time, so that that their response is organic, earned. Gary Thompson, like the pioneer James Swan who appears in some of his poems, is one of those poets. Perhaps because he does not withhold anything of himself, the affinities of place, rather than the static things of place, reveal themselves to him-'not things,' as the poet Hayden Carruth has said, 'but relationships of things.' Those interested in the craft of poetry will find here the obsession of a shipwright with the utility of limited space combined with a cabinet maker's skill. In this finely made collection we find a chart by which we might locate ourselves." -Samuel Green