Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden

Source: GBF
Paperback, 80 pgs.
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Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden is an exploration of devastating, sudden loss as it relates to the 2011 Tōhoku magnitude 9-9.1 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. The disaster caused more than $300 billion in damages and more that 15,000 deaths, and these kinds of large-scale losses are often hard for us to comprehend because of their sheer magnitude, unless we are personally impacted. Eden draws on the mythical signs that nature provides and she cultivates the deep emotional resonance these disasters should evoke from us. She opens the collection with  a “gray” day in which the beach is “covered in whales,” they are “fifty bodies, like tea leaves//at the bottom of a scryer’s glass,/heavy and loud in memorial.//” (Hokotashi City, Ibaraki Prefecture, pg. 3).

We already are called to attention, to attune ourselves to the natural world, to the signs of what comes next. But even preparing ourselves, becoming keen observers will not make us ready enough to be a survivor. How can you explain what it is to survive an ocean that consumed all the land and swept everything away, except for you? It is a cavern of loss that even the greatest climber will struggle to surmount.

In “Corpse Washing,” we’re shown the reverence required of working with the dead, and how much care, listening, and attention to detail it takes to breathe life into the once full of life bodies we mourn and must let go. “I brush the seaweed and trash/from her remaining hair until its soft./I clip the ends of my hair to fill/her empty eyebrows, her missing eyelashes./” And the care that can no longer be given: “The mother takes/the last water to her daughter’s/lips, but the girl rejects it./She’s had more than enough/water for one life.//”

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden honors those lost to the tsunami and those who were exposed to radiation from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. While “Shikata ga nai” (nothing can be done about it), Eden seeks to provide emotional touch stones to those losses, honoring not only what was, but what cannot be changed and how the world must and has moved on. What is done, cannot be undone. (said by Lady Macbeth in Shakespear’s Macbeth).

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #651

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine, which I purchased.

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented, extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult’s volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for where hope might take root.

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden immerses us into the Japanese natural disaster known as 3/11: the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Relentless as the disaster itself, Eden seizes control of our deepest emotional centers, and, through insightful perspective, holds us in consideration of loss, helplessness, upheaval, and, perhaps most stirring, what do make of, and do with, survival. This poetry collection is also a cultural education, sure to encourage further reading and research. Drowning in the Floating World is, itself, a tsunami stone—a warning beacon to remind us to learn from disaster and, in doing so, honor all that’s lost.

For Her Name’s Sake by Monica Leak for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Poetry? Seriously? Who reads poetry these days, right?

With so much happening in our world with political and racial unrest, economic downturn, high unemployment, and a full-blown pandemic, why read poetry?

We read poetry because it gives us a frame for the events happening in our world and times. Words paint pictures. Words create our world. This collection of poetry is designed to bring awareness to stories of marginalized, criminalized, and brutalized women of color that deserve more than a thirty-second sound bite on local or national news.

The blood and mistreatment of women of color cries from the ground. Their voices have often gone unheard, silenced in death by systems of police brutality and the “isms” that are the result of race, poverty, and gender. This collection of poetry is an effort to give a voice to those women who were unable to share the stories. Through my words, I share their stories to ensure that we honor their memory through a commitment to advocacy and change until freedom for all is realized.

As you read, I challenge you to identify ways in which they can live out the words of the prophet Micah who said, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NKJV)?

What did you receive?