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    Exclusive: Read a new poem by National Book Award finalist Joan Wickersham.

    Literary Hub

    April 15, 2024, 9:30am

    In September, poet Joan Wickersham’s No Ship Sets Out To Be A Shipwreck will be published by Eastover Press. Lit Hub got a sneak peak, and we’re excited to share a new poem from the collection. According to the publisher, No Ship Sets Out To Be A Shipwreck

    is a poetic and philosophical meditation ignited by a beautiful, frightening, mysterious object: the seventeenth-century Swedish warship Vasa, which sank only minutes into its maiden voyage and lay forgotten underwater until it was found and raised more than three hundred years later.



    Someone I loved told me everyone has one like this –
    a helpless, crazy love, the kind that drives you out of character.
    I knew when he said this that he was mine, that I wasn’t his,
    and that this was a mercy. In the museum, you stand
    at what would have been the level of the wharf.
    The ship looms above you and falls away below,
    not launched yet. Or maybe you are standing
    on the seabed, and this gloom is the gloom of fathoms,
    and the hull is sunk in mud, and this thing that you
    are wandering toward – don’t worry, you’ll survive it –
    is the wreck.

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