Everywhere communities, habitats, and families are endangered by radical loss. This book is an act of resistance against such loss, a testament to the beauty and fragility of human making. Inspired by Merwin’s Lament for the Makers–and a spectacular Yves St Laurent dress–the book unearths wonders in its journey through family and environmental history to find: the unmarked grave of a grandmother, a fisherman lost at sea afloat for a week in his dory, a seal skin coat, flowers placed in bullet holes in glass after terrorist attacks in Paris, Vermeer’s portrait of The Lacemaker, a seal rising up through the floor of an Icelandic cottager, the historic silk weavers of Lyon, two prom dresses and a crinoline, a Manhattan Subway sandwich shop where once a dressmaking business thrived, the bounty and beauty of a herring harvest, the silences of women lost to history, and so much more.
The author is grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation for a fellowship that supported the research and writing on this project. Counterpoint Press will publish the book in fall 2021.