Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- University of Georgia Press
Barbara Hurd continues to give nature writing a human dimension in this final volume of her trilogy that began with Stirring the Mud and Entering the Stone. With prose both eloquent and wise, she examines what washes ashore, from the angel wing shells to broken oars. Even a merman appears in this brilliant collection that throws light on the mysterious and the overlooked.
Writing from beaches as far-flung as Morocco, St. Croix, or Alaska, and as familiar as California and Cape Cod, she helps us see beauty in the gruesome feeding process of the moon snail. She holds up an encrusted, still-sealed message bottle to make tangible the emotional divide between mother and daughter. She considers a chunk of sea glass and the possibilities of transformation.
The book began on a beach, Hurd says, "with the realization that a lot of what I care about survives in spite ofperhaps because ofhaving been broken or lost for a while in backward drift. Picking up egg cases, stones, shells, I kept turning them overin my hands and in my mind."
Each chapter starts with close attention to an objecta shell fragment of a pelican egg, or perhaps a jellyfishbut then widens into larger concerns: the persistence of habits, desire, disappointments, the lie of the perfectly preserved, the pleasures of aversions, transformations, and a phenomenon from physics known as the strange attractor.
|Publisher:||University of Georgia Press|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.63(d)|
About the Author
BARBARA HURD is the author of Stirring the Mud, Entering the Stone, Walking the Wrack Line, and a collection of poetry, The Singer’s Temple. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, the Yale Review, the Georgia Review, Orion, and Audubon. She is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, winner of the Sierra Club’s National Nature Writing Award, five PushcartPrizes, five Maryland State Arts Council Awards, and a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Table of Contents
1. Broken Oar: Preface 1
2. Wordwrack: Openings 8
3. Moon Snail: Unseemly Proportions 10
4. Egg: Breaking Out 13
5. Spider Crab: Disguise 17
6. Stones: Turning Points 25
7. Meiofauna, a Holy Man, and Singing Sand: Incoherence 34
8. Wentletrap: The Pleasures of Aversions 43
9. Lime Sea Glass: Transformations 48
10. Bottle and Feather: A Different Question 58
11. Beached Icebergs: Erasable Truths 65
12. Worms: The Persistence of Habits 68
13. Jellyfish: The Unfinished 71
14. Pebbles: Fine Distinctions 80
15. Purple Sailors: The Shape of Chance 93
16. Angel Wings: Missing Pieces 97
17. Driftwood: A Meditation on Soul 100
18. Bits of Clay, Glass, Wood: The Strange Attractor 103
19. Sea Stars: Return 113
What People are Saying About This
There's scarcely anyone writing better about the natural world than the much-unheralded Barbara Hurd. In her book, WALKING THE WRACK LINE, Hurd turns her spare prose and lyrical powers of observation to shingle beaches, spider crabs, jellyfish, dead sailors and such landlocked matters as why Franz Schubert never finished his Symphony in B Minor, known as the Unfinished Symphony. (Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio)