Thursday, February 14, 2013

My New Book -- 1.7 Billion Years in the Making

A “a spirited celebration of the natural world …” – Mercury Heartlink Releases Karla Linn Merrifield’s Newest Poetry Collection

            Lithic Scatter and Other Poems is an intimate journey across the diverse landscape of the American West

          “I go on an archeological expedition of sorts. I pick up a symbolic trowel and dig,” is how poet Karla Linn Merrifield of Kent, NY, succinctly conveys the poetic process as she explores the West – its geology, human history, rivers and mountains, deserts and oases, politics and environmental challenges – in her new, Lithic Scatter and Other Poems.

         Merrifield’s is a deeply spiritual and sensual collection in which nature and the human-as-animal are integrated into the web of life. Thus, in the opening poem,“Dancing with Green Bees,” readers learn: “Landscape bids you to absorb time. And in “Land Marking,” early settlers survive: despite coyotes… locoweed/  storms… drought along the river”.    

“There is magic here, and reverence for the sacred feminine, all woven together with exquisite, earthy details. Merrifield’s broad scope shines in lines like these, from “One Hard Lesson,” where we are drawn in as the speaker considers a collection of rocks gathered from many travels: these solid stories of the Earth,/remind me who I am on a Sunday morning,/ knowing the destiny of every rock is to become sand, says poet Sudasi J. Clement, poetry editor of Santa Fe Literary Review and  author of The Bones We Have in Common, the 2012 prize-winning chapbook from Slipstream Press.

Or, as the publisher says:  “At once sweeping, visceral, earthy, gritty, ethereal, and primordial, Karla Linn Merrifield’s Lithic Scatter and Other Poems unfolds a kaleidoscopic odyssey of the American West at its all-natural wildest.”

The “poet-guardian of the Earth”covers time and territory as her “poem-maps show the way”


         Those words of New Mexico poet Michael G. Smith hint at the scope of Lithic Scatter, which was inspired by Merrifield’s many lengthy treks through the West. The 59 poems traverse a dozen states covering some 1.7 billion years!  In Kansas, for example, we learn about Jewish immigrants who escaped European pogroms to become homesteaders, safe at last// in a sod house on one-hundred-sixty acres,/ in the blank ark of the sere open prairie. In Nevada, you’re mesmerized,/ needing more than both hands// to navigate this terrain of faultlines,/ how it shrinks humanity, how it favors lizards. In Arizona, readers arrive during the seasons of kiva spells/  and adobe smoke,/ in rimrocks of Arizona and alcoved dwellings of the Ancient Puebloans (Anasazi).

            Merrifield is also a well-informed tour guide to a dozen National Parks, Monuments, and Historical Sites.  Thus, in Yosemite National Park in California, she turns eyes to a rock-climber inching/  upward a half mile on El Capitan’s vertical face sees only granite,/  curses its polish, oblivious to the glacier whose ghost is sheen on stone. And, at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, a frog along the trail speaks through the poet, instructing hikers to plant your feet/ on the earth and look up toward the canopy/ of ancient treetops.

            Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (114 pages), with a cover photograph by the author, is available for $16 in selected area bookstores and from online booksellers, as well as from the author via query to her at or by phone at (585) 259-6934. Purchase directly from the author and she will sign it for you -- and mail it at no additional cost to you.


About the Author:   
          A seven-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had more than 300 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has nine books to her credit, the newest of which are Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and The Ice Decides: Poems of Antarctica (Finishing Line Press). Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North, and from FootHills Publishing, Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems. Her Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the 2009 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she recently received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber - The Contemporary West in 2012.  She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye ( Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at

About the Publisher:

     Established in 1994 and based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mercury HeartLink is owned and operated by publisher Stewart S. Warren as an alternative to large commercial publishing houses and the unguided and less professional endeavors of self-publishing, Mercury HeartLink works closely with writers and other artists to offer solutions that are client-centered and to provide support in the larger realm of self-realization.

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