Hello from the Ocean: Ecotone 33

Vanessa Barragão, Bleached Coral, 2022
Repurposed/discarded wool & lyocell, jute, LED lighting

"Hello from the ocean," reads the first line of editor Anna Lena Phillips Bell's letter in a recent issue of Ecotone, the North Carolina-based literary journal focused on place. 

As a reader and writer born and raised in Nova Scotia ("Canada's Ocean Playground"), ardent tideline shell-seeker, and fan of Sue Goyette's book-length poem Ocean, I opened this themed issue with appetite, and have kept it close at hand for weeks now. 

There's a lot of beauty bursting out of its pages, especially Vanessa Barragão's incredibly intricate works in repurposed fibre, and no small amount of sober reflection on the climate crisis in prose and poetry. 

The pages I keep going back to, though (so often the journal falls open there), are three poems by poet and novelist Yuko Taniguchi. "Two Views (After Tsunami)", "A House's View" and "Fishes' View" reach inside me the way few poems do. They turn inside out everything I know about tsunami and other other climate events experienced as human disasters. They locate me in the heart of tsunami -- and in doing so, locate tsunami stories in my heart. 

I can't imagine a more complete reimagining of place than this. To see more of Yuko Taniguchi's work, and other content from this issue, visit Ecotone 33.

     Yuko Taniguchi


     It feels strange to become a boat.
     I was the house for a fisherman's family for five generations.

     The men got up early while the outside was dark,
     fished all day and came home.

     They took hot baths in my tub
     and slept on my tatami floor.

     Sinking down into the ocean, I am filled
     with the scent of their hands.

Vanessa Barragão, Botanical (detail), 2018-2019
Repurposed /discarded wool & lyocell, jute

Words and images by kind permission of the editors and makers. Please visit and support Ecotone: Reimagining Place