“The most original piece of travel writing about the Antarctic region I have read in years . . . Bradfield is a literary tour guide in the best sense.” —Elizabeth Leane, author of Antarctica in Fiction: Imaginative Narratives of the Far South
A poet and a naturalist, Elizabeth Bradfield documents and examines her work as a guide on ships in Antarctica through poetry, prose, and photographs, offering an incisive insider’s vision that challenges traditional tropes of The Last Continent.
Inspired by haibun, a stylistic form of Japanese poetry invented by seventeenth-century poet Matsuo Basho to chronicle his journeys in remote Japan, Bradfield uses photographs, compressed prose, and short poems to examine our relationship to remoteness, discovery, expertise, awe, labor, temporary societies, “pure” landscapes, and tourism’s service economy. Antarctica was the focus of Bradfield’s Approaching Ice, written before she had set foot on the continent; now Toward Antarctica furthers her investigation with boots on the ground. A complicated love letter, Toward Antarctica offers a unique view of one of the world’s most iconic wild places.
Like having a poet’s behind-the-scenes tour of a natural history museum . . . the exquisite landscape and wildlife come into vivid view; so does the gutsy work and responsibility of being a naturalist guide.” —Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit