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“Lara Messersmith-Glavin’s essays are simultaneously thrilling and insightful as she solemnizes the objects from her youth on an Alaskan fishing boat. She masterfully illuminates the sacred in nets and winches, in salmon, skiffs and waves in this beautifully crafted collection. I was awe struck.”

—Liz Prato, author of Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai’i

“Many fishing memoirs are filled with high seas drama, but Messersmith-Glavin focuses instead on what Blake called the 'luminous details' as revealed in the 'spirit things' she chooses to carry her story, objects as seemingly mundane as a glove and as complex as a wave. Spirit Things will appeal to anyone who’s fallen hard for Alaska and wants to be reminded what they love—and miss—about wilderness, fishing, and those who are drawn to the far North.”

—Holly J. Hughes, author of Hold Fast, Passings, and Sailing by Ravens

"Spirit Things takes readers into the depths of a life growing up on the ocean among deckhands and danger on an Alaskan commercial fishing vessel. With a framework of “spirit things”—a buoy, a winch, salmon, and more, an ever-shifting life is pursed up with narratives that shape an unusual upbringing. Lara Messersmith-Glavin is indeed a child of the sea!"

—Vivian Faith Prescott, author of Old Woman with Berries in Her Lap

"Most of the wealth of writing about commercial fishing in Alaska focuses on dramatic

events — storms at sea, sinkings, testosterone-fueled mayhem. Spirit Things is something else. ...Detailed, accurate and 

beautifully written — as pleasurable to read by those who fish themselves as by those

who may never have stepped on a boat of any kind or seen a fish outside of a restaurant. ...This is a book to love and cherish."

—Anchorage Daily News

“‘How do we tell our own stories when no framework has been given for deeper meanings? How do we create a cosmology of our own? Why is vastness so frightening?’ These questions vibrate at the heart of Spirit Things. The sensual pleasure of Messersmith-Glavin's language interweaves with her capacious spiritual inquiry; her lithe prose is an absolute delight. This luminous, magnificent project is a gift Messersmith-Glavin has brought us from the ocean, full of awe and beauty, salt and light.”

—Alicia Jo Rabins, author of Divinity School

When I finished this last night I set it aside and muttered “mmm, terrific” to myself. ...Great book."

Daniel Elder of Corporeal Writing


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