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When she was a toddler, Jessica Goodfellow’s twenty-two-year-old uncle, along with six other climbers from the 1967 Wilcox Expedition to Denali, was lost in an unprecedented ten-day storm blasting winds of up to three-hundred miles per hour. Just as North America’s highest peak is so massive that it has its own distinct weather system—changeable and perilous, subject to sudden whiteout conditions—a family whose loved one is irretrievably lost has a grief so blinding and vast that it also creates its own capricious internal weather, one that lasts for generations. Whiteout is Goodfellow’s account of growing up in this unnavigable and often unspoken-of climate of bereavement.

Although her poems begin with a missing body, they are not an elegy. Instead, Goodfellow struggles with the absence of cultural ritual for the uncontainable loss of a beloved one whose body is never recovered and whose final story is unknowable. There is no solace here, no possible reconciliation. Instead, Whiteout is a defiant gaze into a storm that engulfs both the wildness of Alaska and of familial mourning.

64 pages | 6 x 9

Poetry


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Reviews

“The poems in Whiteout pull together an array of topics and well-developed craft, making it a complex book emotionally, thematically, and technically. Goodfellow’s skill in weaving these elements into a coherent whole amplifies the book’s emotional power and creates a haunting look at a personal tragedy that resonates with larger philosophical questions about death, grief and the dangers of the earth’s extremes.”

Rumpus

“What a voice. What a story. . . . Every page intrigues us with new forms and new narratives. This is more a reverence to risk than to destruction. Goodfellow writes with singularity about a one-only-story. If death goes to heaven, these poems encapsulate hymns of accompaniment.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

“(Goodfellow) balances this extremely tough subject matter with a complete embrace of forms. It’s captivating.”

Chicago Review of Books

“A study of inter-generational trauma, of how the pain that afflicts parents and grandparents can be handed down to children who did not experience it directly. It’s deeply moving.”

Alaska Dispatch News

Whiteout is a book that you need to read. While it focuses on the loss of Goodfellow’s uncle, it also explores the way we mourn for the people who we have lost. Even if you can’t relate to Goodfellow’s exact situation, this book will still hit home.”

A Mountain Journey

“Goodfellow does an excellent job at telling a story strictly through poems, and readers will find it to be an especially unique and personal one. . . . Reading Whiteout is like going through an emotional winter storm: tragedy, love, repression, and even depression all have a spotlight in this collection.”

Glass

“These poems are resonant despite their revelations of inconsolable grief.”

Poetry Northwest

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