Silty Water People by Vivian Faith Prescott
Silty Water People is a collection of poems exploring the effects of assimilation on contemporary Tlingit/Scandinavian families in Wrangell, a small island community in Southeast Alaska.
Two hundred and twenty years after colonization began, through the complex themes of intergenerational trauma, identity, racism, and history, Prescott uses mythology, geological time, and a deep connection to place to weave Silty Water People.
"Reading Vivian Prescott’s delightful new collection, Silty Water People, I feel as if I am bonding with a poet companion who is living and raising a family in Lingít Aaní, or Southeast Alaska. Prescott’s lyric is steady like a trusted boat captain’s hand on the wheel, elegiac, attentive to the Wrangell cross-cultural atmosphere and history. All literature used to be local and regional, finding universal resonances within its sense of place; so it is with Vivian Prescott, a bard of her hometown, her family, and of an ethical, investigative, historically conscious, contemporary poet’s life."
—Ishmael Angaluuk Hope, author of Rock Piles Along the Eddy
"Deeply personal and powerfully written, these poems offer a deep look into the relationships in which parents and children navigate life in two cultures. While Prescott writes, “time cannot heal everything we do to ourselves,” these poems, without flinching, take steps toward healing by exploring the intersections of culture, language, and mothering with honesty and grace."
—Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, author of You Are No Longer in Trouble and Steam Laundry
"Vivian Faith Prescott's poetry is a triptych of naming, of stories shared by tongue, of characters landing like words, like rain, onto the text-peppered page. In this writing, men and their otter oiled fingers, clenched smokehouse fists, haul and bludgeon salmon. Spruce-rooted women grounded in gather and harvest, their hair an incognito wing, pull their children close into the "curve of hip." Silty Water People catalogs the Stikine River region, Tlingit clans and language. Its poetry maps community and myth."
—Kersten Christianson, author of Curating the House of Nostalgia
"She felt / the brush of hair feathering across her back, / tree-pitch sticking her thighs." In these eco-feminist-mythological poems, Vivian Faith Prescott both walks us through a traditional world, and invites us to challenge what we've always known to be true. These poems touch some of the painful bones of racism, culture, and identity, and ask questions that many before her have been too afraid to ask. And in this exploration, she peels away layers of hurt, reminding us of what it means to be human: "I reach to touch / bedrock exposed to low tide." We won't soon forget the bedrock exposed in these poems."
—Emily Wall, Professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast, and author of Flame, Liveaboard, and Freshly Rooted
Publisher: Sandra Kleven
Cirque Press Author — Vivian Faith Prescott
Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised in Wrangell, a small island community in Southeastern Alaska. She lives in Wrangell at her family's fishcamp. She's of Sámi, Norwegian, Finnish, German, Irish, and British heritage, and possibly others. She was adopted by the T'akdeintaan, her children's Tlingit clan, and given the name Yéilk' Tlaa. She's married to poet Howie Martindale and has four children, two step-children, seventeen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She holds an MA in Cross Cultural Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, an MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska, and a Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).