On Amazon, 5 of 5 stars : “A fantastic array of poems”
Reviewed by Auntie Annie
Ms. Merrifield writes of the mountains and the deserts in such a way that you know she is at home there. She writes of the Anasazi and her connectedness to them. She includes a wonderful series of poems about Georgia O’Keefe. Her descriptions are apt and original, appealing to all five senses. Perhaps my favorite poem is “High-Altitude Spectrum.” In it she discusses the colors of the trees, birds and beasts that inhabit the high mountains, shimmering “a rainbow as if/ a sudden summer thunderstorm/ has washed the mountains iridescent.” Lovely.
5.0 out of 5 stars — “A Poet Lets Nature In”
Reviewed by by Maureen Kingston
Lithic Scatter and Other Poems is both lunge and careful backtrack. The natural world has its way with Karla Linn Merrifield and she with it. In “Magnitude 5.4,” nature has the upper hand: “I am face down, / spitting dust, spooked / by stone’s empty eyes, / non compos mentis. / The San Andreas shifts.” In “Shall We Gather at the River?” she acknowledges her (and our) insignificance in the midst of the rift valleys of the American southwest: “canyons are not for people—they’re for rivers.” “Making Beds” is heartbreaking in its understatement. Merrifield visits a shellfish enhancement project—a bureaucratic label that screams human intervention in its perverse mission to manipulate bivalve production. She longs for “purer places, ones with no signs of what’s being lost,” but she comes along “too late,” she says, “for all but an aftertaste.” And yet, she can’t go against her own nature to seek and create, finding inspiration in O’Keefe’s paintings, Navajo lore and animals of all sorts. In “It is You Who are Essential,” the coyote’s song reverberates to bone: “I shall let your howling teach me for all time / to remember my illuminated hunger.” Lithic Scatter is a testament to an artist’s courage to keep herself open no matter what. She leads by example and honest poetry, encouraging readers to do the same.
5.0 out of 5 stars — “Celebrating the Landscape”
Reviewed by Laury A. Egan, author of Beneath the Lion’s Paw and Snow, Shadows, a Stranger
In this fine collection, the first poem, “Dancing with Green Bees,” sets the joyous tone as Karla Linn Merrifield, a widely traveled poet, revels in the landscape and celebrates the wisdom and lives of our native inhabitants. From ephemeral bees to ancient stones, nothing is beyond her eager examination; indeed, a tiny cobble will set her on a flight of wonderment and philosophical conjecture. Stylistically, this book is a marvel of musical lines, such as when she describes “arriving like snowmelt in spring from the slickrock flanks of the Chusaka Mountains.” Color is also a constant revelation: a black bear is “in a cinnamon morning coat” and “bald domes wake from violet sleep.” The book has its somber moments, especially when Merrifield confronts the destructive nature of modern man; touches of wry humor, too, such as in the poem where she contrasts dragonflies with helicopters (“draconian Homeland Security spawn.”) Lithic Scatter and Other Poems will strengthen Merrifield’s considerable reputation as an American naturalist-poet.
5.0 out of 5 stars — “On Lithic Scatter”
Reviewed by Laura G.
Karla Linn Merrifield’s poems convey a tawny warmth, and a strong sensory awareness of her surroundings. The poems in Lithic Scatter move through realms of ancient rocks and primordial beginnings, to places where science meets mythology, mythology and history overlap, and art melds them together. Her journey west take us―by proxy―to where inner and outer realities merge. Merrifield is stoic in pursuit of intelligent adventures, though her bravery and joie de vivre are infused with touching moments of fear and doubt. The journey turns inward, but simultaneously feels universal — and she always returns to her surroundings with renewed enthusiasm. Readers will be happy to travel the pages of this book with such an astute and poetic guide.
5.0 out of 5 stars — “Experience the Magic”
Reviewed by Colleen Powderly
In Lithic Scatter and Other Poems, Karla Linn Merrifield immerses herself in the energy of the natural world, then takes us on a journey through the American West through eyes attuned to that energy. With her we travel as mystics, learn things we would not otherwise know–how quartz sparkles in the San Juan River above the Colorado, how a mountain stream lives its course to a canyon river, how prehistoric women exist near the mouths of ancient caves. Because Merrifield grows into these landscapes and allows them to grow into her, we experience their magic as she does, in moments of powerful peace and ecstatic union: I fly over/ carved clay mesas, spires, canyons,/ a shadow upon shadows bringing/ another thunderstorm, needed rain,/ floating on a good tailwind. Such sharing strengthens our humanity, reminds us of the need to attend both ourselves and Earth.