- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Eastern Washington University; 1st edition (January 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0967702119
- ISBN-13: 978-0967702117
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,064,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What the Ice Gets: Shackelton's Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916 Paperback – January 1, 2000
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The second expedition Sir Ernest Shackleton led to Antarctica was undertaken in a ship called Endurance . The name was prophetic, for after it became trapped in ice in January--the middle of the southern summer--the explorers had to embark over ice floes, ocean, and finally ice-clad mountains to save their lives. They left the ship as the ice began to shatter it in late October 1915. By foot and lifeboats, they reached wind-scoured Elephant Island in April 1916. From there, Shackleton and five others sailed for a whaling camp on South Georgia Island. On August 29, 1916, deep in the antarctic winter, Shackleton rescued the men on Elephant Island. All had endured. The story has been told often, first by Shackleton's South (1919), but never before in verse, though its astonishing heroism is the stuff of epics, such as the Odyssey . Mueller does the job brilliantly, alternating chapters of blank verse narration and monologues in the voices of several of the men, which she sets in metrical forms specific to their speakers. Thanks to Mueller's knack for putting direct speech and extracts from expedition members' testimonies into verse, the whole poem is gripping to the last page. Ray Olson
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"More than how you look, 'tis what
you see that changes most."
The first time I saw trees again,
they looked to me like green ghosts." (p. 18)
Overall, this is one hell of a project for a poet to take on, and she more than just does it, she does it justice. She takes not just the expedition but the broader tale of the changing world as these survivors find themselves alive but lost and passing away in a world where a World War is changing everything:
"The men whose lives Frank Wild helped to save are all
long dead. Their deaths have fallen
so far behind us they are become, as Worsley would say,
quaint." (p. 70)
This is a book well worth picking up.