The Bottom: A Poem
2013 Winner of the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award
by Betsy Andrews
"The Bottom," writes Peter Balakian, "is an unrelenting poem of hypnotic chants, leaps, and catalogs through which Betsy Andrews dives into the vast ocean of the damaged and endangered planet. As she navigates the wreckage and erosion, she also affirms the force of love. This is an urgent lyric vision of our time."
Carolyn Forché calls it "a water-poet's inventory, cry, and lamentation in one book-length tsunami of plangent musical phrases that might have frothed from the mouth of Whitman.""In the halcyon days the mighty ocean's depths were the stuff of sublime poetry. Now they are gridded, trawled, and plundered, teeming with everyday living's gunk our Coppertone, our PCBs, our water bottles, our 'polypropylene doodads.' Andrews's kaleidoscopic long poem, with its urgently imaginative lexicon and leaps, reminds us that a day at the beach can be no longer. In its rejection of poetry's tropes and passivity-inducing illusions this important work demands that we stay alert. Have we hit bottom yet?" --Mónica de la Torre