Once Houses Could Fly follows ten kayakers along the rugged fjords of Ellesmere Island in the High Arctic. Here under the roofless world, the ancient killing fields of the Thule people become campsites for tents, pitched among the bleached bones of sea mammals and the rough docks of shore-ice.
These poems speak of the bite and beauty of weather and the limits it sets on us. Be it "Jeremiah on a rampage" or the "which-way of ice," the polar desert has a habit of dismantling expectations. There is nowhere to hide, no turning back. Beginner's prowess ends in taking inventory of thumbs and "aging's howl," yet the light's redemptive peace settles all distress, and what lasts is the quiet gratitude that overtakes the narrator, as the journey sets the pace for the soul to catch up with the body. The book recalls this journey as a summoning to oneself: a humility, which does not anticipate competence, which opens its arms to the unfolding world.
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