The Legible Element: essays (Paperback)

The Legible Element: essays By Ralph Sneeden Cover Image
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"Imagine finding that message in a bottle you always dreamed about." So writes Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters, about poet and essayist Ralph Sneeden's new book The Legible Element.

Although a memoir at its core, The Legible Element is much more: the book gathers lyrical essays into chapters, using prose and poetry as facets of the same aqueous gem. With a personal immersion in literature, visual art, film, and music, Sneeden establishes a nonfiction hybrid on the border between the academic and the personal. The collection's narratives about surfing, sailing, fishing, scuba diving, and swimming are earthly dispatches from an ongoing voyage fueled by joy, longing, loss, and humor.

The Legible Element is a book about places, its insights and descriptions spurred by the challenge of distinguishing the personalities of different bodies of water through experience while also paying tribute to the coasts that cradle and define them. The collection's regional touchstones are in New England and California, but as Jennifer Acker, author of The Limits of the World and editor of The Common, puts it, "This book will fling you from shore to sea and back again in search of perfect aquatic moments."

Water provides the language of the essays, functioning as both a lens and mirror for the author's exploration of the act and outcomes of writing itself. As he says in the preface, "'s writing that ultimately needs to rip its own temporary swath, churn the surface of memory into something that seems more permanent." Bill Roorbach, author of Summers with Juliet, Temple Stream, and Lucky Turtle, writes, "These are a poet's sentences, a poet noticing the world even as he lives in it, language creating a world apart. These essays are profound-you'll want to follow this voice wherever it goes."

The Legible Element will have you wallowing, floundering, and then swimming happily for your life off the shore of your own preoccupations before you even realize you're adrift.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781958094280
ISBN-10: 1958094285
Publisher: Eastover Press LLC
Publication Date: July 18th, 2023
Pages: 356
Language: English