Whether aboard an Amazon canoe, slowly floating downstream or on foot in the tangle of roots and vines, I went to Amazonas with a symbolic eye on the legendary tropical rainforest and its inhabitants, searching for its primal essence” is how poet Karla Linn Merrifield of Brockport, NY, succinctly conveys the poetic process as she explored the mightiest river on Earth during two expeditions – its flora and fauna, human history, and environmental challenges – in this her tenth collection, Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems. Merrifield’s is a deeply spiritual and sensual collection in which nature and the human-as-animal are integrated into the teaming web of life. Thus, “Wide Eyes in Brazil,” readers can vicariously experience “the sweep of tropical steam.” And in reading “Spectrum of Amazon Birds,” they too can confront one of the rarest owls in the world and allow themselves to “dream the river’s rhythm with mottled owls.”
Merrifield is also a well-informed tour guide to a world that few readers have the privilege to visit. Now they can travel the Amazon River through Brazil and Perui and never feel an insect sting, never get their feet wet, never sweat a drop as they discover the wonders of a world that is also under siege by deforestation.
Photographs as stunning as Merrifield’s poetic imagery:
Complementing the 33 poems in the collection are six of the author’s four-color trophy photographs, including the cover photograph, all taken on location in Brazil and Peru. “The photos are simply beautiful,” said Michael Czarnecki, the book’s publisher. An accomplished photographer, Merrifield’s visual art has graced poetry book covers for FootHills, Finishing Line Press, Rochester Ink and Mercury Heartlink, and have been published in numerous journals and magazines. In October 2012, dozens of her photographs illustrated an essay by poet William Heyen in the collaborative coffee-table book, The Green Bookcase (Hollybrook House Press).