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Rare Earths

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In Rare Earths, poet and novelist Deena Linett has created an intriguing and suspenseful story in verse. Mairi MacIntyre, a young archaeologist, travels to the desolate North Sea Island of St. Kilda where—in journal excerpts and letters—she comes to terms with her own repressed longings and inner life, and her ties to the women who once inhabited the island.

Deena Linett has published two prize-winning novels, On Common Ground and The Translator’s Wife. Her poetry has been ...

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2001-01-01 Paperback New Beautiful brand new paperback book. No markings anywhere, no wear just a new book. We appreciate your business and welcome any questionsMendoPower ... Employment Services will immediately and carefully pack this book in high-quality bubble lined, envelopes. Then we send you a confirmation e-mail. We appreciate your business and welcome any questions. Read more Show Less

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Overview


In Rare Earths, poet and novelist Deena Linett has created an intriguing and suspenseful story in verse. Mairi MacIntyre, a young archaeologist, travels to the desolate North Sea Island of St. Kilda where—in journal excerpts and letters—she comes to terms with her own repressed longings and inner life, and her ties to the women who once inhabited the island.

Deena Linett has published two prize-winning novels, On Common Ground and The Translator’s Wife. Her poetry has been widely published in literary journals including The Missouri Review, in which ten poems from Rare Earths appeared in the 20th Anniversary Issue in May 1997. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880238998
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Deena Linett is Professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She has published short fiction, non-fiction, and two prize-winning novels. She received 1996 and 2002 fellowships to the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers in Scotland. Linett was awarded a 2004 residency fellowship to the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, Sweden.
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Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


My Sister Anna Clare Writes from Lewis,
November 1833


If we had wanted abundance I suppose
we could have chosen another home.
This place is full of losses. When the boat
went down in the Minch it was a clear day
and the sea looked green and flat from here
though the currents have a mind of their own
as you know, and take who they will.
It was our Francis, and I can't say
I had foreknowledge. The sky was clear
and my heart light too, like the shallows
you see through to sand, and no stones.
The seals had gone, and the razorbills.
We had no thought, except the ones
you always do, the worry whispering
like the sea when it's still—you always hear it.
Like a child itself, the sea is. Once he's born
you never don't think of him, never don't know
what he's doing. Living here is like that.
And it's beautiful. Even when you forget—we did
this time—its treachery. If you could spare a wee bit
of comfort on the next boat we would be grateful.


    It has not been possible for us to locate the speaker or her sister. —Eds.


    Mary Angela Rose Writes from St Kilda, 1903


You think because I am a midwife I will talk of babies lost
that came in winter squalls, their mothers without milk,
the blood, white thighs. No.Though Iadmit the thighs will
sometimes move me. And the bairns. A person is not made
of stone. They wail. I oil and swaddle them. I study
small pale faces and sometimes I can tell the ones will live
a week, a year, and aye, I grieve over wee hopes lost,
the man he would have been, the bonnie lass. Here am I
with three names, a richness that discomforts me
in this poor place. My mother died as I saw light: in prayer
my father gave me holy names and bright, and in my time
I have replied to all of them. I no longer fancy living here
though on the mainland I would always be a stranger.
Here the land is fine, all stones and hills, but steep: hard to climb,
    hard
on the feet, hard to farm. Like a picture of my loneliness.
It may be on the mainland there'd be others more like me.
I like to watch the sun rise from the sea but not go into it,
and never look west: it's too empty. In all these years, only one time
did I bring out an unnatural child. Several born dead or marked,
but only one affrighted me. Afterwards I had bad dreams.
I was sitting on the beach—I never would do—and a boat,
tossed ashore, splintered and threw pieces on me, spar
and ropes and boards and nets: I sat in ruins under stars
as cold as sin. Then things of metal fell out of the sky
—but how could they?—stone and metal cannot fly
like birds. Rock and metals fell. They crushed
the sheep and tore the grasses, leaving gashes on our island.
Once I married but my husband went away to Shetland.
I felt for many years that I disgusted him. Even clean
I smelled of blood and milk. My work reminded him
of troubled ways that men and women come together.
Once I saw him watching sheep. I saw his mouth
all twisted, though he didn't know it. When birds come south
I sometimes think of him. Once a stick, I have grown stout
and I wonder what it would have taken. Perhaps nowt
would join us—even wee ones of our own—if he had remained.


    Satellite Photo


View from the south, over the Straits of Florida


Gleaming in its sheath of bluegreen air
and water, Florida's familiar body emerges
from black space and at the southeast edge
returns to it where the continental shelf
drops hard to darkness. The picture
doesn't show flat sandy country,
the wild variety of palm and fruiting trees,
the sprawling banyan at the Ringling Home
like circus elephants in stilled parade
around no tent. You can't see me walking
with an image of my mother, north
along a curve of Gulf, the water blue
as the insides of shells, as her eyes.
You can't see me spying—as when a fan
of palm fronds separates to let the wind
come through, or in a drift of vision
just beyond a clump of pines—Florida
in the forties and fifties, dusty, somnolent,
and dull, unselfconscious in its finery.
You can't see me leaving a man
I first loved thirty years ago and likely
will not see again. From 200 miles up,
what's visible: countless sweet blues,
the sandy littoral, swirls and brightness
in the shallows. Through cloud—fizz
like painted glitter on a painted sea—
erratic rounds of lakes, hammered silver
spangles planned, as for a necklace, in a row.
Then, the Maker suddenly distracted, dropped
at random all the way to Okeechobee,
just north of where the country hollows
like a bowl to hold the grassy inland sea. Home
hangs off the vast expanse of mainland
like a dollop of sweet cream or a drop
of seawater, heavy at the bottom, trailing
islands, a few drops blown to westward.


    Silk Dress


In my heavy new silk dress, dark blue,
I have come to know it fully: you are dead
beneath palm trees. Never the crush
of your arms, never your thigh thrust
between mine. Your voice never.
In my empty house I call your name out
—foolish girl—and like the girl I was
when you were here, shout. Echoes rush
into space like radio waves, straight off
into the dark where you are
where I will go, though not because you're there,
good dear, and I want you. I want you here
between me and the dark, quick
flesh, that fluttering small light, its guttering wick.
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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Book I The St Kilda Manuscripts
Editors' Introduction and Commentary 15
Mary Clare Writes from Uist, 1730 19
Unattributed Fragment (1) 22
Unattributed Fragment (2) 23
My Sister Anna Clare Writes from Lewis, November 1833 24
Alma Rose Writes from St Kilda, 1884 25
Mr MacAndrew Writes from St Kilda, 1892 27
Mary Angela Rose Writes from St Kilda, 1903 28
Communication to the Editors from Mairi MacIntyre's Mother 30
Mr John Blair Writes from St Kilda, 1924 31
Monsignor Benveniste Writes from Lewis, 1937 32
Barbara Rose Writes from South Uist, 1943 33
Postcard to Steven from Skye, 1973 35
Maggie's Find on Skye 36
Bill Writes Home from Harris, 1989 37
Mairi MacIntyre: To Iain Fraser from Inverness, 1992 38
Mairi MacIntyre: To Her Mother from St Kilda, 1994 40
From Mairi MacIntyre's Journals (1) 42
Mairi MacIntyre: To Margaret Adams from St Kilda, 1994 (1) 43
Mairi MacIntyre: To Her Husband from St Kilda, 1994 (1) 44
From Mairi MacIntyre's Journals (2) 46
Mairi MacIntyre: To Her Husband from St Kilda, 1994 (2) 47
They Come Ashore (1) 49
They Come Ashore (2) 50
Mairi MacIntyre: To Margaret Adams from St Kilda, 1994 (2) 52
From Mairi MacIntyre's Journals (3) 53
Mairi MacIntyre: To Her Husband from St Kilda, 1994 (3) 54
From Mairi MacIntyre's Journals (4) 55
From Mairi MacIntyre's Journals (5) 57
Mairi's Drafts
Oslo, 923 58
Oslo, 1085 59
Oslo, 1407 59
Iceland, 1410 61
Mairi MacIntyre: To Mr William Boyd from St Kilda, 1994 62
From Mairi MacIntyre's Journals (6) 63
Mairi MacIntyre: To Her Husband from St Kilda, 1994 (4) 64
You Go Back 65
Eventually They Come Ashore 67
Book II I Live Past You
August Morning 71
Migrations 72
Flight Paths 73
Men Kneel 74
The Natural Element 75
True North 76
Weekend at the Beach 77
Mostly Sky 78
(On Not) Meeting David at the Beach 79
Water's Edge 80
Satellite Photo 81
The Stunning 83
Starshine 85
Silk Dress 86
Lament in Three Cities 87
Atlantic Beach 88
Clay Figures 89
Kiln 90
Ceremonies of Bread and Wine 91
Still, Life 93
View from a Thousand Miles Out 95
Visit, Glasgow School of Art 96
Female Figure in Glass with Copper Wire (6" [times] 6") 97
Giacometti in Edinburgh 98
Fields Beyond Rosewell 100
Lustmord (Retrospective: New York School) 102
Acknowledgments 106
About the Author 108
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