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Part warning, part rumination, Natalie Eilbert's Overland uses snapshots of violence to survey loss of family, of habitat, of consent - the discarded tools used to arrest climate change activists, the skin marked with crescent moons and photographed by a forensic nurse.
Natalie Eilbert's anticipated third collection, Overland, invokes elegy and psalm to speak to assault on the bodies of women and our planet. In a collection that is part warning, part rumination, Eilbert snapshots violence -- the scorch marks on California lumber, the discarded tools used to arrest climate change activists, the crescent moons on skin photographed by a forensic nurse. A chronicling of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and death cycles of the Great Barrier Reef, Overland maps an industry-scarred landscape that travels from coast to coast only to pause on the Congress floor where we are made to recognize: "Disappearance is active loss." Whether collective or private, environmental or familial, in Overland no loss is overlooked as sestinas and sonnets are interspersed with weary reportage on the power and limits of witness. Here, language is mined--Latin roots are unearthed, ripped apart, and reproduced into anthimeria to describe an industry-obsessed society that is "plasticing"--all while words like "intercourse" and "consent" are named and reclaimed. From the longform associative verse of "The Lake" series, to the two lines of "Gunmetal Gray," Eilbert proves her poetic versatility and stamina, writing in sonic lines as dynamic as the emotions she evokes. We emerge from these poems changed, having learned the truth of the words, "We lose / the world with deliberate focus."
About the Author
Poet and journalist, Natalie Eilbert is the award-winning author of two poetry collections, Swan Feast (2015) and Indictus (2018), winner of the 2016 Noemi Press Prize. In addition to her prize-winning chapbooks, And I Shall Again Be Virtuous (2014) and Conversations with the Stone Wife (2014), her works can be found in POETRY, Granta, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. Her works engage with systemic power imbalances, social and environmental justice, and climate change, and were awarded the 2021 George Bogin Memorial Prize. Founding editor of The Atlas Review, she is the recipient of a 2021 Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, and the 2016 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Born and raised in New York, Eilbert is currently based in Wisconsin where she contributes to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA TODAY as a local government and mental health reporter.