In this memorable first book, Kent Shaw explores layers of devotion, illusion, and sacrifice in abstract and personal terms. At age eighteen, he enlisted for six years of service in the U.S. Navy. Midway through, his unadulterated patriotism shifted to unanticipated doubt. Calenture—whose title refers to a sickness sailors suffer as they come to believe the ocean is a meadow, try to walk into it, and find themselves drowning—draws upon rich seagoing metaphors to probe faith, change, and delusion. With poems of ocean and spirit, land and love, family and stranger, this book is anchored and buoyed by a sailor’s undeniable longing to experience a great voyage fully and to render it true and whole.
“Shaw renders the familiar new, and the new fraught with power and language.”
– American Poet (Fall 2008)