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Distributed for Omnidawn Publishing, Inc.

Extraordinary Tides

A poetry chapbook that reflects on shifting time and tides through the language of the shoreline.

Pattie McCarthy’s Extraordinary Tides occupies a space in the intertidal, the in-between place of not-quite-land and not-quite-sea. The poems reflect on passing time, fluctuating tides, and on our efforts to predict both. Upon a ground that is always in flux beneath us, McCarthy invites us to question if and how we really know where we are. Considering the language of the tides, the poems in this chapbook make a wrackline palimpsest, a seastruck archive, a marginalia of the littoral.

72 pages | 5 1/2 x 7 | © 2023


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“McCarthy’s Extraordinary Tides gorgeously breathes the back and forth of water and liminal space but also racks serious balls. Bishop’s verse that says where the land meets the sea is ‘literature’—here this idea finds a brittle, punctuated alphabet made of the things collected: oyster comma, gentle cloud commas. Simultaneously, McCarthy sees the world through the maintenance and survival of her own body, a witch’s circle, and from her observations can build entire days, and entire beings: ‘We hold a useless language on our tongues, and it becomes useful.’”

Cynthia Arrieu-King, author of The Betweens

“Tides churn, birds gyre, twilight turns to night and back to day. ‘It’s the end of the world but / which world,’ these poems ask, pointing to all that cycles back. Extraordinary Tides attends to the ‘smallest stop in the relentless / present tense,’ to motion and stasis, to change and continuation. At the edge of the sea, holes in socks, salt in hair, these poems ‘write the paragraph of our place // again and again.’”

Sarah Dowling, author of Entering Sappho

“McCarthy brings the waterfront into our lexicon, asking the literary to kiss the littoral, where the archaic is made present, and the present is made historic when channeled through her vigilant ear and euphonic voice. In poems written at the wrackline—the vein where the ocean tongues the land—and in a time when the world thrashed and foamed in quarantine, McCarthy’s coastal almanac helps us imagine what of the sea resists being bought and sold as a boardwalk sensation (then) and Instagram documentation (now). ‘tradition says clams are common property & the flats unleasable’ writes McCarthy, in characteristically buoyant, full-throated verses of beguiling calm and razor-brisk wit. Reading Extraordinary Tides in these extraordinary times (to which Old English denotation the title hearkens), I am better anchored to observe what remains common amongst the species at the shore who insist that we can, still, ‘eke the ebb of it.’ If the tides are the intercessional prayers that sustain a cosmological love between the moon and our planet, then McCarthy becomes, in this book, the trusty translator of those abiding novenas.”

Divya Victor, the author of CURB

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