Overland

Natalie Eilbert

Natalie Eilbert’s highly anticipated third collection, Overland, invokes elegy and psalm to speak to assault on the bodies of women and our planet. In a collection that is part warning, part rumination, Eilbert snapshots violence — the scorch marks on California lumber, the discarded tools used to arrest climate change activists, the crescent moons on skin photographed by a forensic nurse. A chronicling of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and death cycles of the Great Barrier Reef, Overland maps an industry-scarred landscape that travels from coast to coast only to pause on the Congress floor where we are made to recognize: “Disappearance is active loss.” 

Whether collective or private, environmental or familial, in Overland no loss is overlooked as sestinas and sonnets are interspersed with weary reportage on the power and limits of witness. Here, language is mined—Latin roots are unearthed, ripped apart, and reproduced into anthimeria to describe an industry-obsessed society that is “plasticing”—all while words like “intercourse” and “consent” are named and reclaimed. From the longform associative verse of “The Lake” series, to the two lines of “Gunmetal Gray,” Eilbert proves her poetic versatility and stamina, writing in sonic lines as dynamic as the emotions she evokes. We emerge from these poems changed, having learned the truth of the words, “We lose / the world with deliberate focus.”

ISBN: 9781556596681

Format: Paperback




About the Author

A poet and a journalist, Natalie Eilbert has written about systemic power imbalances, leadership accountability and the ongoing fallout of climate change with an eye toward social and environmental justice. Overland, Eilbert’s third collection of poetry, uses naturalist observations to engage everyday catastrophes otherwise un-noteworthy, while also turning an eye toward endemic and systemic problems of authoritarian rule in the face of a dying planet. Poems from Overland have published in The New Yorker, POETRY, American Poetry Review, The Nation, …

Read more

“Eilbert offers an exquisite study bringing themes of nature and climate change to the forefront while also focusing on mental health, grief, trauma, and love. Throughout, she brilliantly tackles today’s crises, which she often presents hauntingly, aware that not everyone feels the same sense of urgency.” —Library Journal, starred review

Overland wagers it all on our imperfect language, our last best hope for airing experiences so private or suppressed as to feel incommunicable. . . . Language as gift, recognition, unconditional care: this is one of many discoveries Overland perches on, before its perpetually moving thought heads restlessly on.”—Christopher Spaide, Harriet Books at the Poetry Foundation

“Snapshots of everyday life examine environmental devastation, violence, and the complex range of human experience, from the deeply personal to the universal, in Eilbert’s elegant third collection. . . . The works in this collection communicate our inextricable and bountiful connection with language. A powerful and striking collection.” —Allison Escoto, Booklist

“There is a quiet intensity to this book despite the siren-blaring urgency of what she describes in these pages. Eilbert’s verbs, in particular, keep me on the edge of my seat. ‘We see the moths // fried to the bottom of bulbs as a lesson in pleasure,’ she writes. . . . Throughout Overland, Eilbert provides an intimate and fierce look at the dread so many of us know all too well, its many precipitators, both internal and external, and illustrates just how tightly the inside and outside are bound.”—Diana Arterian, Lit Hub

“Eilbert’s book is a testament to the act of seeing, of witnessing, of experiencing and still—as in, nonetheless; as in, despite it all—not turning away.”—Sarah Kain Gutowski, New York Journal of Books

“These tender poems examine grief and memory, disasters and light, and nature and science. Some sentences left me breathless. . . . I see myself studying this book—full of wisdom—carefully, scribbling definitions in the margins and handwriting quotes in my notebook.”—Book Riot

“Maximalist, elegant, and smart, weaving between the global and the personal, stylistically bringing to mind the world-conscious work of such writers as Jorie Graham and Timothy Donnelly, the linguistically associative poems in Overland read like the unwavering thought process of a single being trying to come to terms with powerlessness.”—Michael Dumanis, Poetry Daily