Toward Antarctica

Toward Antarctica

by Elizabeth Bradfield

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Poet-naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield’s fourth collection, Toward Antarctica, documents and queries her work as a guide on ships in Antarctica, offering an incisive insider’s vision that challenges traditional tropes of The Last Continent. Inspired by haibun, a stylistic form of Japanese poetry invented by 17th-century poet, Matsuo Bashō to chronicle his journeys in remote Japan, Bradfield uses photographs, compressed prose, and short poems to examine our relationship to remoteness, discovery, expertise, awe, labor, temporary societies, “pure” landscapes, and tourism’s service economy. Antarctica was the focus of Bradfield’s Approaching Ice, written before she had set foot on the continent; now Toward Antarctica furthers her investigation with boots on the ground. A complicated love letter, Toward Antarctica offers a unique view of one of the world’s most iconic wild places.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597098267
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 05/09/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 28 MB
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About the Author

Writer/naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of the poetry collections Once Removed, Approaching Ice, Interpretive Work, and Toward Antarctica. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, West Branch, Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, Orion and elsewhere. Winner of the Audre Lorde Prize from the Publishing Triangle, finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, her awards also include a Stegner Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, and a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Bradfield grew up in Tacoma, Washington, attended the University of Oregon, graduated from the University of Washington, and received her MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Founder and editor-in-chief of Broadsided Press and a contributing editor at the Alaska Quarterly Review, she lives on Cape Cod with her partner, works as a naturalist/guide locally as well as on expedition ships around the globe, and is Associate Professor and co-director of creative writing at Brandeis University.

Read an Excerpt

Emperor Penguins at Snow Hill Island


All week, emails flung to satellites, slung down, ship to sky to ship—Seen here. For once, the Weddell open to latitude, day scheduled ours, conditions clear and calm. Approached pack. All eyes on deck, binos keeping distance less distant. Who spots them? H? E? Not me. Then almost too easy, too plain


tall hunch at ice-edge

no, no brilliance at throat, beak

closer, brilliant


Thinking of Cherry, his first by winter’s moonlight & aurora. Don’t go in for offered coffee, biscuits, spiked cocoa. Or to shout home (if reception, if time on the purchased card) this historic. Emperor penguins! Sea ice bumps to horizon. Last year’s shuffling tabulars trapped in old pack. Connected, apart. Why are we here? Decadence. Delight. Desire. A tourist ship discovered this colony just ten years ago. Discovered. Could have been us. Could have.

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