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
Mike Burwell’s poems have appeared in Abiko Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ice-Floe, Pacific Review, Poems & Plays, and Sin Fronteras. His poetry collection Cartography of Water was published by North Shore Press in 2007, and in 2009 he founded the Northwest literary journal Cirque. He’s been a Taos resident since 2013 where he finally found home among the wild landscape and its wildly generous poets.