In this evocative, multicultural anthology, poets from the U.S., Latin American, the Caribbean and Cape Verde Islands mine the ocean’s depths to reveal universal feelings of the sea that we all share.
Ocean Voices is a collection of sea-inspired poems that use the ocean as symbol, muse or Sacred Source, giving voice to people, places and things associated with it. Shakespeare is of these voices, as are nineteenth century masters such as Melville, Whitman and Dickinson. But mostly these are twentieth century muses—Pablo Neruda, Askia Toure, Amiri Baraka, Mary Oliver, Robert Francis, Derek Walcott, Lucille Clifton, Catherine McLaughlin and Alaskan-fisherman-poet, David Densmore. Poets from southeastern New England—Claudia Grace, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Susan Grace, John Landry and Everett Hoagland—lend their voices and reflections about the sea.
Ocean Voices is edited by Professor Emeritus Everett Hoagland of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Hoagland is a former Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts (1994-1998) and the author of several books of poetry, including This City and Other Poems.
The anthology includes six sections with intertwining ocean themes—“Ocean Voices,” “By the Sea,” “On the Sea,” “In the Sea,” “From the Sea” and “The Sea of Love.” Each poet’s work was chosen to give the reader a variety of reflective voices—from Mary Oliver’s beautifully organic poems “Mussels” and “The Fish” to fisherman poet Derek Densmore, who writes about conflicting emotions toward fishing in his poem “For the Love of Fish.”
In his Foreword, Professor Hoagland writes: “Hate and love, catastrophe and renewal, hedonism and spirituality, emanate from Mother Ocean, the geophysical salt-water womb from which all life on Earth derive. How drawn we are to the sea; awed and inspired by it. Hold this book to your mind’s ear just as you held seashells to an outer ear at the seashore when you were a child, and you will hear these and other poets give eloquent voice to images of the sea in ways that will echo in your conscious and in your dreams.”