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Corpse Whale
By dg nanouk okpik
112 pp. / 6.00 in x 9.00 in / 2012
Paper (978-0-8165-2674-1)
  - Sun Tracks

Related Interest
  - Poetry

A self-proclaimed "vessel in which stories are told from time immemorial," poet dg nanouk okpik seamlessly melds both traditional and contemporary narrative, setting her apart from her peers. The
Unlike poets who adopt cultures into which they weren't born, or raised, okpik, who has fished the waters of which she writes so eloquently, has something rare these days: an authentic voice, one that nets ancient beliefs without disgarding modern science or the daily news.


In Corpse Whale, okpik has layered old Inuit land knowledge with an old English-language poetic mode to form something wholly new. . . . an invigorating read.


dg okpik is a startlingly original poet. She writes of seal skins and walrus and weeks of endless sun and moon that are versed in tradition but also create her own personal mythology. I am constantly mystified and thrilled by her poetry. Read her now.

—Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

A lively and enlivening collection of poetry. okpik's verse is distinct poetic magic.

—Maria Melendez, author of Flexible Bones

Corpse Whale is a refreshing departure from many of the tropes we see in contemporary poetry. It is an emotive illumination into a corner of the world we so rarely get a glimpse of. Intimate and storied, okpik's work ushers us into a new poetic topography that is both imaginative and necessary.

—Matthew Shenoda, author of Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone

result is a collection of poems that are steeped in the perspective of an Inuit of the twenty-first century—a perspective that is fresh, vibrant, and rarely seen in contemporary poetics.

Fearless in her craft, okpik brings an experimental, yet poignant, hybrid aesthetic to her first book, making it truly one of a kind. "It takes all of us seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling to be one," she says, embodying these words in her work. Every sense is amplified as the poems, carefully arranged, pull the reader into their worlds. While each poem stands on its own, they flow together throughout the collection into a single cohesive body.

The book quickly sets up its own rhythms, moving the reader through interior and exterior landscapes, dark and light, and other spaces both ecological and spiritual. These narrative, and often visionary, poems let the lives of animal species and the power of natural processes weave into the human psyche, and vice versa.

Okpik's descriptive rhythms ground the reader in movement and music that transcend everyday logic and open up our hearts to the richness of meaning available in the interior and exterior worlds.

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