Journey through uncharted literary waters and explore Melville’s epic in bold new light
Come sail with I.
We’re not taking the same trip, though you might recognize the familiar course. This time, the Pequod’s American voyage steers its course across the curvature of the Word Ocean without anyone at the helm. We are leaving one man and his madness on shore. Our ship overflows with glorious plurality—multiracial, visionary, queer, conflicted, polyphonic, playful, violent. But on this voyage something is different. Today we sail headless without any Captain. Instead of binding ourselves to the dismasted tyrant’s rage, the ship’s crew seeks only what we will find: currents teeming with life, a blue-watered alien globe, toothy cetacean smiles from vasty deeps. Treasures await those who sail without.
This cycle of one hundred thirty-eight poems—one for each chapter in Moby-Dick, plus the Etymology, Extracts, and Epilogue—launches into oceanic chaos without the stabilizing mad focus of the Nantucket captain. Guided by waywardness and curiosity, these poems seek an alien ecopoetics of marine depths, the refraction of light, the taste of salt on skin. Directionless, these poems reach out to touch oceanic expanse and depth. It’s not an easy voyage, and not a certain one. It lures you forward. It has fixed its barbed hook in I.
Sailing without means relinquishing goals, sleeping at the masthead, forgetting obsessions. I welcome you to trace wayward ways through these poems. Read them any way you can—back to front, at random, sideways, following the obscure promptings of your heart. It’s the turning that matters. It’s a blue wonder world that beckons.