all the world's light and all the world's dark
can fit into an eye into a heart
BE-HOOVED, Mar Ka's luminous new poetry collection, presents a layered spiritual memoir of the author's decades in the north. The poems---structured along the seasons and the migration patterns of the Porcupine Caribou Herd---inhabit the wilderness of her experience.
Entrancing, profound, and startling, this book is a testament to hope before change, persistence before confusion, and empathy before difference.
Mar Ka's poems throw light even when the subject is dark, when "Something has rotted, wormed by greed." She sees the world with a clear eye. If you're going to read only one book by an Alaskan poet this year, read this book. Mar Ka knows Alaska and its Native people like few poets I've read. If you're looking for a sense of Alaska as a place conveyed through vivid imagery, you'll find it here. If you're looking for a deeply human and appealing voice, you'll find it here . . . It's a powerful book.
---Tom Sexton, former Alaska Poet Laureate, author of ten books of poetry including Li Bai Rides a Celestial Dolphin Home
Be-hooved by Alaskan poet Mar Ka journeys through the north with a sharp eye and ear and brilliant verbal gifts. These poems carry the reader forward like the migrating caribou that populate its pages. Exploring and recording this lovely but threatened landscape, it's a book to treasure and re-read.
---John Morgan, author of seven books of poetry including Archives of the Air and River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir
In her luminous debut collection, Mar Ka navigates the north through incantatory poems of responsibility and connection--to land, to animal, to story, self, and one another. Chasing the lights through long Alaskan nights, these poems drum like caribou hooves, carrying "the thrum of hearts through bone and bark and stone." With a revelatory poetry of witness, discerning nature's elemental songs, she asks us what it means to be wild, convincing us that to be more human, we also need to be more hooved.
Be-hooved maps the foreign and familiar corners of home.
---Chip Livingston, author of Crow-Blue, Crow-Black, and Owls Don't Have to Mean Death
Well-crafted turns and wonderful surprises . . . especially the surprises, which for me are always at the heart of good poetry.
---J. Edward Chamberlin, author of twelve books, including A Covenant in Wonder with the World: The Power of Stories and Songs and The Banker and the Blackfoot: An Untold Story of Friendship, Trust, and Broken Promises in the Old West
Mar Ka's collection Be-hooved evokes an Alaskan wilderness that I haven't seen in poems before, addressing directly the effects of global warming without ever falling into lecture. There is warning here but also joy, attachment, wonder. Mar Ka is skilled with subtle rhyme and her line is compelling--one poem pulls me into the next and the next, and I find new images to admire in each reading. Be-hooved is news from the climate change front, an accessible collection that deserves a wide audience.
---Kathleen Flenniken, former Washington State Poet Laureate, author of the poetry collections Famous and Plume
I have read this collection three times...I find the music of the line in each poem compelling. Strong images: caribou, cold, glaciers, migration, death of species . . . Poems speak back and forth to each other, addressing the consequences of environmental issues; survival of the species and people; defending a place called 'home'; faith and spirituality in a landscape that can be unforgiving, and the significance of memory and story-telling. I was struck by the poems that challenge ownership of place. Who is responsible for nature's survival? Who is responsible for human survival? What happens when the balance of nature is altered? Are there really accidents?
---M. J. Iuppa, author of four poetry collections, most recently This Thirst
Hoof photo is a detail from one of Anchorage artist Sheila Wyne's Adaptation series works.