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Mrs. Noah Takes the Helm, Poems by Elizabeth Schultz
Mrs. Noah Takes the Helm by Elizabeth Schultz reveals the vibrating relationships among humans and animals, examining how catastrophes disturb these relationships, how the resulting tremors connect us, and how we survive together, learning from one another. In those poems cast in the voice of Mrs. Noah, she appears as an avatar for all humans, especially for women, capable of facing disaster with ingenuity, good humor, courage, and compassion. Alternating with the Mrs. Noah poems are those in which animals are represented in diverse places and spans of time, where they may face life-threatening conditions, but where they also survive to model for us lives of dignity, perseverance, and mystery.
“Elizabeth Schultz’s creation of the persona of Mrs. Noah is an act of poetic alchemy. By imagining the character of this ancient, yet uniquely contemporary woman, Schultz celebrates the wonder of every creature, from giraffe to ant, while at the same time mourning nature’s demise by human history.In lines that gleam with striking spot-on wit, Schultz captures the paradox of being human among animals: ‘We itched in our humility.’ Mrs. Noah Takes the Helm is a wild ark of delight.”—Catherine Anderson
“From ant to salmon to mamba to hippo, all of the animal kingdom gets honored here in Elizabeth Schultz’s Mrs. Noah Takes the Helm. Schultz alternates sections between Mrs. Noah trying to keep all of the animals alive on the ark with her own visits to parts of the earth where the rarest of animals strive to live. Her poems prompt us to re-think the connections of human to animal and of animals to each other. This is a book anyone would love, many should read, but animal lovers will rejoice at the veneration of so many wondrous creatures. As soon as I finished reading Mrs. Noah, I started reading this triumphant collection, rich with insight and wisdom, over again.”—Maryfrances Wagner
“By choosing the most appropriate word, poets can astonish us with joy. Reading Elizabeth Schultz’s Mrs. Noah Takes the Helm achieves this, especially through her verbs. In the menagerie she evokes in these poems, monkeys carouse, giraffes lope, mice hustle and snoop, opossums scuttle, salmon shimmy, cows mosey, ravens hang out, grackles prevail, elephants trundle. Schultz creates these many creatures with disciplined observation and affectionate insight. She is equally at home with backyard visions of mole and squirrel as she is with her imagined, Earth-large myth of Mrs. Noah, a survivor for these times.” —James Bogan
Elizabeth Schultz retired in 2001 from the University of Kansas where she was the Chancellor’s Club Teaching Professor in the English Department. Elizabeth is the author of Unpainted to the Last: Moby-Dick and Twentieth Century American Art (1995), Shoreline: Seasons at the Lake (2001), Conversations: Art Into Poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art (2006) and Her Voice (Woodley Press, 2008). She was founder of the Melville Society Cultural Project in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 2007 she was a Fulbright lecturer in Beijing.
ISBN: 978-1625491039, 104 pages, $19.00