From one of the nation's most dynamic and celebrated young poets, an extended dialogue with the greatest masterpiece of American literature, Moby-Dick.
Taking its inspiration--and, for that matter, its form--from Ishmael's abandoned "Cetological Dictionary" in Moby-Dick, this extraordinary, highly original work brings meditations on myth, representation, language, nature, consciousness, and notions of spiritual quest into constantly new relations. From "Accuracy" to "Wound," from "Adam" to "Void," and from "Babel" to "Silence," the cross-referential, highly associative entries make up an utterly singular work of art.
For fans of Beachy-Quick's acclaimed collections of poems, for the legions of Melville fanatics among us, and indeed for anyone who regards reading as an unconditional, encompassing obsession, A Whaler's Dictionary is absolutely essential.
Essayistic, inventive, and frequently brilliant.”
This is a rich, profound, fascinating book, the kind that widens the margins of everything we read, making room for new observations, more creative relationships all around: writer/reader, person/book, literature/life.”
Los Angeles Times
Wounded by a book, wounded by the force of idolatrous speech in Moby-Dick, Dan Beachy-Quick has mounted a kind of folly, a nautilus, enclosing the furtive wall of his own lyric sensibility. A Whaler's Dictionary reminds us why poets must sometimes measure their gifts against the calculus of prose, and why criticism by poets, unlike academic arguments, sometimes produces a flame which stands the test of time.”
Daniel Tiffany, author of Toy Medium and Puppet Wardrobe
This is a major work on the charged relationship that can come into being between text and reader, written by one of America’s most significant young poets.”
Lyn Hejinian, author of Saga/Circus and The Fatalist
A Whaler’s Dictionary manages to function as an oddly ideal work of criticism, breathing new life into Moby-Dick and showing how the novel subsists as an intricately living thing.”
Virginia Quarterly Review