The candlefish, enormous schools of which enter the Pacific Northwest’s rivers in the spring, is so rich with oil that when supplied with a wick it can be used as a candle. Thus creatures of the water become transformed into instruments of fire and spirit, ultimately transcending this world.
Written as the author begins to navigate the second half of life, Candlefish unfolds along multiple lines of narrative and reflection. Each poem is rendered from experience and made incandescent by the spark of the author’s intellect and insight.
Whether tending the flower beds, skinnydipping on her birthday, conversing with a grown daughter, or bringing inside the teacup her husband can no longer carry, Elizabeth Biller Chapman distills each moment to its most vital components and makes them luminous with the necessity and surprise of relation.
Elizabeth Biller Chapman’s candlefish gracefully swim toward the pierced horizon all of us must face and are transformed by imaginative compassion as the book develops, season by season, from summer to spring.