Winner of the Aiken Taylor Award
Sharply observed and metaphorically inventive, Ocean Effects is a worthy follow-up to Galvin's National Book Award finalist Habitat. It includes a new vein of Galvin's trademark richly observed lyric poems on the biota, landscapes, and weathers of coastal New England. Seascapes and the natural world bracket sequences spoken by personae as various as the seventeenth-century American colonist Roger Williams, small-town cops, a squatter in the ruins of Chernobyl, a nineteenth-century Russian general in Mongolia, and a Cape Cod carpenter. Galvin's monologues, tensile and energetic free verse, are touched with the speech of the historical periods in which they take place.
the surface was too hugely roiled
for a muskrat's dive or a shag's,
it was almost the "footprint"
a whale leaves when it sounds
for the depths, but that wasn't
what came up blowing water
like a kid after a dive,
its brown-golden head too big
for a weasel's, and rose up
to its shoulders seeing me there,
its tail working behind—
a river otter, a five-footer,
no goofy stuffed toy, but almost
smiling, the way a salamander
turned up under a log seems to smile
as if to say, You have found me out.
From "Splash" published in Ocean Effects by Brendan Galvin.
Copyright © 2007 by Brendan Galvin. All rights reserved.
BRENDAN GALVIN is the author of sixteen poetry books, including eight published by LSU Press, of which Habitat (2005) was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received many other honors, including the O. B. Hardison Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library. He lives in Truro, Massachusetts.
Found an Error? Tell us about it.