Following Sea

Turnstone Press, 2019

Spanning almost two hundred years, Following Sea finds anchor in the submerged regions of the heart. With great care, Lauren Carter wades into family histories and geography, all the while charting her own territories. Carried by the ebb and flow of language, Carter’s second collection explores issues of infertility, identity, and settler migration, offering a tender examination of home. Urgent and intimate, Following Sea leads us along the shoreline of Carter’s Manitoulin memories to show us what she has carried up from the depths.

Praise for Following Sea:

“Lauren Carter’s poems plumb landscapes of precarious settlement in a fluid dance of lament and praise, illuminating the histories of families who carved hope and survival out of treacherous conditions. These poems are grounded in the spare, sensuous language of contemplative attention, at once raw and graceful, quaking with loss. Here, the steadfast cling to life through bitter winters in Northern Ontario, with only slivers of fish for survival, yet, like their descendants, remain lit by the “tiny diamonds” of their dreams. Following Sea speaks to the listening heart, to those who know intimately how barren territory inspires strength that survives generations.” — Lorri Neilsen Glenn, author of Following the River: Traces of Red River Women

“I think of Lauren Carter’s Following Sea as a scale that weighs the past against the future. Carter’s retrospective gaze does not dip into nostalgia or sentimentality; neither does it romanticize cottage life or the hardship of settlers. Instead, with depth of feeling and restraint of language, she offers us a balancing act of heritage, hardship, and hope. In her words, “I look backwards / because the future / is too hard to bear.” She only looks to the past; she does not retreat into it. The past and the future pull us at each arm: “All morning // the cemetery / tugged at me, but I didn’t go.” That’s the point. Carter does not disappear into the unknowable past or the unknowable future but plants herself as a fulcrum in the now.” —Ian Williams, author of Personals and Reproduction 

“Through these poems, Lauren Carter tells a beautiful and heartfelt story of lives lived, lives lost and lives never-to-be. Lauren put her whole self into this work and you can feel it.” – Naomi MacKinnon, ConsumedbyInk

“This is a startlingly beautiful collection of poems and the weaving together of nature, grief, history and domesticity bring to mind the work of my very favourite, and much missed childless poet, Mary Oliver. I’ve often felt that grief like ours has the power not just to break our hearts, but to crack them open to a love and appreciation of the natural world a little more intensely than those wrapped up in the hurly-burly of family life perhaps have time to appreciate; whether or not that’s true in general, it’s certainly true for Following Sea. Whether you’re a seasoned reader of poetry or a first-timer, there’s a richness in Lauren’s words that really nourishes the soul.” – Jody Day, GatewayWomen

“Reading through the poems I was touched repeatedly by the insight so few words could induce.  Lauren evokes images of days past and finds strength in her own trials through learning about and imagining those of her ancestors.” – Family Locket

“Deep emotions are expressed within the poetry, intensifying throughout the book … The moving pieces within this collection cause the reader to feel the pain, sadness, anger, and emptiness the infertility and childless not by choice journey evoke.  In fact, the mood was so dark at one point in the reading that it reminded of the time during my own infertility battle that I call “the pit of despair.” … But there is more to this story than despair.  There are shimmers of hope, too.” – Brandi Lytle, Not So Mommy

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