Personal Volcano

Laura Moriarty (Author)


Personal Volcano is about the sublime physical presence of volcanoes and the author's direct experience of them, as well as the history of catastrophes connected to volcanoes in California and around the world. It is a meditation on ecopoetics, the implications of global warming, and the catastrophes to come. Volcanoes have caused famines and even extinctions in the past and yet volcanoes are an ephemeral phenomenon in the context of geologic time and, much like people, barely take up a moment in the vast changeable history which can include the elimination of creatures at the top of the food chain like ourselves.

Product Details

$17.95  $16.51
Nightboat Books
Publish Date
May 07, 2019
7.9 X 0.5 X 8.0 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Laura Moriarty's recent books are Verne & Lemurian Objects, 2017, The Fugitive Notebook, 2014, Who That Divines, 2014, A Tonalist, 2010, A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975-2007, and the novel Ultravioleta, 2006. Her awards include Poetry Center Book Award, a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry, a New Langton Arts Award in Literature and a Fund for Poetry. grant. She lives in Richmond, California.


"A wry, gorgeous, and darkly funny look at the end times, Laura Moriarty's Personal Volcano is part travelogue, part fiction, part autobiography, and part historio-poetic document. Prosilyrical and nutrient-dense with research on volcanoes and their actions worldwide, fracking, capital C 'CAPITAL, ' and global weirding. The poet takes us into the center of the earth and shows us its hot molten core gilded with diamonds and gold, then guides us out, trousers still afire, to walk along the 'TOXIC TRAIL' of the San Francisco and San Pablo bays. There are volcanoes on the page, too. We see from her purview and the purview of the vultures, cranes, and curlews the refineries and the spume and the chemically bright green lagoon. Certain truths are revealed--mountains and undersea ridges grow at the same rate as fingernails and hair. Mountains as a source of melody and poetic morphology. Geology as the science of contemplation. We emerge wiser but not unscathed."--Julian Talamantez Brolaski "Take Laura's Geologics as aid and guide on our present slog through the dark wood."--Clark Coolidge "Moriarty's sweeping volcanology spews forth a history of the scientific, intellectual, and popular imagination of the (extra)terrestrial crustal phenomenon. Invoking the Romantics, but with a Modernist-feminist slant akin to Dickinson's or Moore's, Moriarty witnesses the volcano, along with what happens to it (and not to mention all the earth) when held by the imperial gaze; from oil wells to nuclear bombs, technologies of our extraction economy gush and explode. 'But where are we in all this stone?' the petropoet asks. In response to her own question, and in a gesture that turns the Romantic sublime on its head, Moriarty crystallizes how in the aftermath of human cruelty and love, after historical time itself, it is the volcano that will erupt again, amid so much other vibrant, shuddering matter."--Angela Hume "Laura Moriarty has unique wit and humor--and perhaps the most perceptive engagement with words that anyone's had for years. They are her pleasure, her resource, her wisdom and company, and she shares them with generous abandon. Here onne may finally see that what's said makes a world endlessly, over and over and over. Hers is an abiding delight."--Robert Creeley "Moriarty looks at the divine broadly, considering in her poems divinity arises from sources and structures of power of all kinds, not just gods, and focusing especially on acts of divination, both in the traditional sense and in more expansive acts of discovery, seeing, and knowing."--Publishers Weekly