Praise for Cirque Press

Praise for Cirque Press Cirque Press has been so good to work with. I appreciate Sandra Kleven’s encouragement, her optimism, and her communication throughout the publishing process and her unselfish advocacy for writers. Michael Burwell possesses extensive knowledge when it … Read More


CIRQUE PRESS proudly announces The Dream That is Childhood: A Memoir in Verse by Sandra Wassilie.

The Dream That Is Childhood: A Memoir in Verse introduces a young girl growing into awareness of an uncertain world through an apprenticeship with the wilderness of territorial Alaska. Set during the years of the Cold War, it recalls a particular place, dominated by a lake, on the north side of the Alaska Range. It is a glimpse into the middle of the twentieth century from a child whose scant knowledge of the outside world comes mainly from overhearing the talk of adults and from books. Her daily life involves dog teams, boats, and planes. The outside world is different.

Wassilie writes in a narrative style that leaps into the lyrical and into depths of mystery whether of waterweeds or parental behavior or her own changing body. Her childhood is a negotiation between loneness and a growing family in a hybrid community of woodsmen and government workers, between being lost in books and immersed in the forest, if not the changing moods of the sky and lake. She confronts the harsh beauty of her life equally with sorrow and humor. She comes to accept it as a series of arrivals and departures with hard choices to be made along the way. And in that acceptance, she finds she can forgive.

Wassilie’s poems are a wellspring of keen observations, written purely from the heart, with a sense of deep time and connection to place.

— Kathleen Tarr, author of We Are All Poets Here

Like a prospector, Sandra Wassilie has tunneled, sifted and arranged the specks and nuggets of her Alaska childhood into a collection worthy of the art of poetry.

— Doug Capra, author of The Spaces Between: Stories from the Kenai Mountains to the Kenai Fjords

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Hundreds of thousands visit Seward, Alaska, each summer, wondering what it would be like to live there. A woman wresting with a return to her hometown, a man studying the play of light, and daily snapshots of citizens, their art and their stunning yet fitful environment bring a year in the mountain-rimmed port city to life.

There is a certain intimacy about Alaska—one that requires patience and endurance to truly appreciate and understand. In Sean Ulman’s Seward Soundboard, he does what few are capable of doing by appreciating the delicate and minute details of the Last Frontier’s harsh and wondrous life and then setting it in motion to the ebb and flow of a small, Alaskan town.

—Rickey Gates, author of Cross Country

In Sean Ulman’s Seward Soundboard, Seward, Alaska, is where the sky spinning a fleece of mist is as much a character as a tsunami siren echoing off the mountains, a hymn of noon bells, tourists gawking at sun-licked Exit Glacier, a Mt. Marathon racer dirtied with blood and sap and locals such as the beachcombing Lightseeker playing with parallelogram prisms and studying the sun through a shoebox. Ulman’s style is unique with skillfully crafted language — both poetic and lyrical, creating a quirky and recognizable small-town Alaskan community.

—Vivian Faith Prescott, author of The Dead Go to Seattle

With a playful, acrobatic use of language, Sean Ulman shines an intimate spotlight into every corner of this small harbor town, where the elements of weather–from sustained winds to perpetual rain to the much sought after sun — hold starring roles in the lives of the eclectic community of folks that visit or call Seward home.

—Christy Everett, author of the blog Following Elias… Read More

Loggers Don't Make Love

Loggers Don’t Make Love is a tricky deftly written mystery with a narrator that could coax you into a barrel above Niagra falls. Author Dave Rowan paints a true picture of the rough and tumble life in a logging camp on the Olympic Peninsula. The mystery isn’t over when the story ends. Reading the prologue reveals the cleverness the author had when penning this thriller.

—James Sweeney, author of A Thousand Prayers: Alaska Climbing Expedition, Marine Life Solidarity and The List

It’s the waning days of old growth logging on the Olympic Peninsula, and Dave Rowan’s Knucklehead is one of a group of raucous loggers. Knucklehead relates a fast-paced tale in a strong voice of friendship, love, death, and murder amongst the big trees. No one escapes unscathed, and in the end, Knucklehead concludes “perhaps just recognizing our karma during one lifetime will help us get rid of it in the next one.”

—Doug Pope, Author of The Way to Gaamaak Cove

Loggers Don’t Make Love, a stunning debut novella by a former NW logger, Dave Rowan, defies a literary pigeon-hole. Glorious first-growth NW forests—wild and free and lovely—seep their wildness and more into the loggers who harvest them in the US ’70s, and the women who love them. Throw in a murder mystery and you have a feast that is good-to-the-last-surprising-drop.

—Kerry Dean Feldman, author of Alice’s Trading Post: A Novel of the West and Drunk on Love: Twelve Stories to Savor Responsibly


Also Available on IngramSpark… Read More

The Way to Gaamaack Cove

Doug Pope writes about the Alaskan backcountry better than any writer I’ve ever read. The Way to Gaamaak Cove is more than just a great adventure, it is coming-of-middle-age in which one man confronts life’s big questions, reevaluates his priorities, and discovers the biggest adventure of all—love.

—Jonathan Evison, author of All About Lulu, West of Here, and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

In The Way to Gaamaak Cove, Doug Pope asks himself, “Is love your greatest risk or is risk your greatest love?” The answer emerges as he chronicles the exhilaration, tribulations, and serenity of wilderness travel. What makes this book so distinctive is how beautifully Pope ranges beyond the usual tales of Alaska adventure to reveal the story of a man who discovers his truest self with the woman who shares so many of these journeys. In language spare and affecting, these accounts overlap and braid and eddy out, illuminated by a rare vulnerability and a keep attentiveness to the moments that add up to a life filled with meaning.

—Sherry Simpson, author of Dominion of Bears: Living With Wildlife in Alaska, The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska, and The Way Winter Comes: Alaska Series

Doug Pope turns out to be as lucky in love as he is in grizzly bear encounters. These linked tales of true wilderness and true romance have enough things going wrong to keep the pages turning. Sometimes, survival and love are not that far apart, as we see in this richly detailed tribute to a family and to Alaska.

—Tom Kizzia, author of Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier, and The Wake of the Unseen Object: Travels Through Alaska’s Native Landscape


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Chris Laskowski Photography

I have always had the camera “bug” in my blood.  I started taking family photos at a very early age with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye.  I went on to use a 110 then upgraded to a 120.  I received a … Read More

Cartography of Water by Mike Burwell

The poems are among the best I have read by an Alaskan poet.

—John Haines, author of Winter News, News From the Glacier: Selected Poems 1960–1980, and For the Centuries End: Poems 1990-1999

Mike Burwell’s poems remind me of the movement of a glacial river, powerful and true. This is the work of a mature poet, one who is sure of his craft and his place in the world. Cartography of Water is a most welcome addition to Alaskan literature.

—Tom Sexton, author of Autumn in the Alaska Range, A Clock With No Hands, For the Sake of the Light, and Li Bai Rides a Celestial Dolphin Home

Here, in Cartography of Water, the quietude of the untamed, wilder world is kept company by the wilderness of one man’s longing and loud ache. Wolves appear, and bears, and the rusty remnants of old miners’ dreams. Also a suffering son, born into his father’s world on the back of a meteor shower. Against the beauty and terror of life, the poet holds to words which manage, in turn, to capture and hold up for us some remnant of the brief joys of his world, actual and imagined.

—Anne Caston, author of Flying Out With The Wounded, Judah’s Lion, and Prodigal

From the opening poem of this fine collection, where the speaker announces himself coconspirator to the sexy moon that “runs” him, to the final poem’s “still life of leaf and cone, poised in death,” these lyrical meditations repeatedly position themselves vis-à-vis a spectacular, uncontainable, and humbling landscape. The author knows when to listen, how to filter winds and currents, seasons and storms, as his words “fall off the headlands.” This is not “nature poetry,” whatever that is, but a stunning prayer, sensual and secular, to the earth that the poet adores. He wisely fears that earth a little, too, since it claims us all comment or care. I’ve been an admirer of Mike Burwell’s work since I published him in Poems and Plays a dozen years ago, and Cartography of Water is long, long overdue. As this talented poet moves your hands across the “cool waist of the planet,” breathe deeply that dizzying Alaskan heaven, and enjoy.

—Gaylord Brewer, Editor Poems & Plays… Read More

Defiance Street

“Sandra Kleven walks a path of beautiful grit and hard honesty that remains uncompromising throughout. In poems like, ‘Lament for Scott’ and ‘As She Waits for Word on Her Biopsy,’ she gnaws her thoughts on aging to the bone with confessions borne of a poet’s long consideration. Kleven’s prose pieces are wall-to-wall poems. She speaks of the famous Blue Moon tavern, of the birth of the second half of the 20th century, and of Theodore Roethke better than he ever did. Bottom line? When I read Sandra Kleven’s lines, ‘She went after boys who looked like Jesus, / sandaled, contemplative, guys with that / crucified look,’ I knew I’d need to say little else about Defiance Street besides: You must give this book a chance.”

—Nathan Brown… Read More

Oasis Earth

Oasis Earth confirms that we are destroying the biosphere of our Home Planet. We know the causes, consequences, and solutions to this existential crisis, yet we’ve failed to correct it. We are out of time: this decade is our last best chance to save a habitable Earth. Rich with insights from those who have viewed our planet from space and evocative images from the U.N. Environment Program’s international photographic competitions, NASA, Greenpeace and others, Oasis Earth weaves a journey through the extraordinary diversity of life on Earth, the interrelated causes of global ecological collapse, and the path to a livable future.

“Oasis Earth is a remarkable summary of the miracle that is life on the earth. At the same time, it describes how our ignorance is violating this phenomenal mystery in every possible way. It clearly instructs us as to who and what we need to become if we are to reverse our collective madness and become the true denizens we once were and can become again.”

—Paul Hawken, Author of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

“I have been diving and exploring the oceans for over 74 years, ever since my father pushed me overboard with a tank on my back. It’s been my privilege to share with the next generation, including my son and daughter Fabien and Celine, the fact that all plants and animals, including us, are connected and depend upon one water system, as detailed in Oasis Earth. It’s why I want everyone to know, if you protect the ocean you protect yourself.”

—Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of Ocean Futures Society Inc.

“Rick Steiner’s Oasis Earth is a book of great importance at this moment in human and planetary history. We are at a crossroads and one way or another, dramatic changes are coming. Humanity can no longer pursue a path of endless population and economic growth, violence and destruction of nature and unchecked carbon emissions without suffering devastating consequences, both to ourselves and the millions of species with whom we share this planet, our only home. The author is an inspired teacher and his lesson is one that desperately needs to be heard. From ecological decline to war and conflict; from wealth inequality to the widely felt malaise with modern life, Steiner understands the importance of recognizing the many converging crises that we must confront. Fortunately, we still have time to choose the future we all want and Steiner shows clearly what is needed to move from the destruction and excess of the Anthropocene to the resilience and stability of the ‘Ecocene’. We can do so much better and Steiner shows us how. Read this book. Be alarmed. Then take action.”

—Mark Brooks, World Wildlife Fund-Canada

“The window of opportunity is closing. What we do, or fail to do, in the next decade will determine the fate of life on Earth and human civilization. Oasis Earth illuminates the way forward with the light of beauty, reason and hope.”

—Kierán Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity

“Professor Steiner presents a stark and confronting picture of the way in which modern life takes the resilience and bounty of our precious planet for granted. Born of a deep love for the earth and its people’s, the solutions offered here are no-brainers. Decision-makers, community leaders, citizens – please pay heed and act – in time.”

—Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, Deep Sea Mining Campaign, Australia… Read More

Echolocation by Kristin Berger

From both the visible and invisible margins of life, from the Oregon forest to high desert, from lake to river, Kristin Berger’s new book of poems, Echolocation, seeks to reconcile memory and loss with a world still very much alive and beating. In a time of diminishing truth and light, this book locates beauty and holds space for its returning.

“If we have forgotten that poetry is a call sent out into the world to rediscover and name our hearts, minds, and bodies, Kristin Berger’s beautiful new book of poems reminds us of poetry’s good and necessary work. Berger’s Echolocation leads us into that work, honestly and elegantly inviting us to know our own lives and landscapes.”

—Annie Lighthart, author of Lantern and Iron String




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