Finalist for The Fiddlehead Poetry Book Prize at the New Brunswick Book Awards!
Shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry at the 2019 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
That Light Feeling Under Your Feet plunges headfirst into the surreal and slogging world of cruise ship workers. These masterfully crafted poems challenge perpetuating colonial and class relations, as well as the hedonistic lifestyle attributed to the employees of these floating resorts. Kayla Geitzler's debut collection interprets isolation, alienation, racism and assimilation into the margins as inevitable consequences for the seafaring workforce of the most profitable sector of the tourism industry.
Exploring the liminal space between labour and leisure, the poems in That Light Feeling Under Your Feet are at once buoyant and weighty, with language that cuts like a keel through the sea.
About the author
Kayla Geitzler is an editor and writing consultant from Moncton, NB. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Gnaw & Gnarl: A Chapbook of NB Writers, Hamilton Arts & Lights, Les Effeuilleuses, Poetry Is Dead, The Fiddlehead, QWERTY, and Galleon. Her first collection of poetry, That Light Feeling Under Your Feet about the slogging and surreal world of cruise ship workers, was published by NeWest Press in April 2018. She is a recipient of the Bailey Prize for Best Unpublished Manuscript and has been nationally recognized by the CBC as a poet who reflects "the enduring strength of the literary form in this country."
- Nominated, Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards
- Nominated, The Fiddlehead Poetry Book Prize at the New Brunswick Book Awards
Excerpt: That Light Feeling Under Your Feet (by (author) Kayla Geitzler)
Saturnalia of the Seas
When the trumpet sounded everything
on earth was prepared
and Jehovah distributed the world
to Coca Cola, Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other entities;
entailed tides and saltwater currents to SSL
marketing itself to the jubilant percussion
of steel drums and sunblock-slicked pleasure
of Calypso and dark rum, and when swelled
with the takeover of independent cruise lines,
demanded marine infrastructure and tithes
from the tourist-desperate ports of developing nations
where sweat-shop labourers long for the freedom
of the red smokestack conga line employing unregulated
overtime and tip skimming -- but room and board, all
medical expenses paid -- so experienced diasporics flock
from the South China Sea: slender bar staff females
swinging waist-length locks, male machinists, paint-spattered
sailors and disaffected galley workers grateful for toil --
and pale English-speakers lured by cash-paid earnings
cycle through Spas, Casinos and Duty Free shops --
the UK, True North, South Africa and the Eastern Block --
marginalized laissez-faire ants hustle, hustle, hustle
as obnoxious vacationers down cocktails with secret
extortionary fees, and after eat-all-you-can buffet,
belt out ear-numbing karaoke, serenading late nite
body gyrating discotheque affairs
under flags of convenience Saturnalia disembarks,
vessels brim-filled with souvenir-glutted tourists,
Cadillac-cushioned backs turned from local sunsets,
from Indigenous eyes following their departure,
willing the return of fun ships to their paradisal horizons.
Praise for That Light Feeling Under Your Feet:
"It's an effective (and affective) look at the unglamorous behind-the-scenes of a (temporary) life at sea."
~ Breanna Mroczek, Avenue Edmonton
"Some of these poems seem to walk on water, on the froth from a swell where capital meets little human moments, an odd place full of sadness, humour and terror."
~ Symon Jory Stevens-Guille, Parallel Universe: The Poetries of New Brunswick
"In her formidable poetic debut, Kayla Geitzler navigates a world of 'unregulated overtime and tip skimming' aboard the cruise ship Saturnalia. No mere three-hour tour, That Light Feeling Under Your Feet is an unflinching portrait of life at sea, and the discrimination, racism, and misogyny inherent in the tourism industry. Darkly humorous and deftly realized, the poems in That Light Feeling Under Your Feet stick in the mind like 'endless leviathans' harnessing the controlled chaos of the word."
~ Jim Johnstone, author of The Chemical Life
"Like a workaday Virgil, Kayla Geitzler takes us from the upper decks of rum cocktails, jackpot bingo, and conga lines into the underworkings of cruise ships--the sale-to-sail palliative powers of simulacrum, the trinket-exhausted ports, and the forced smiles of deck staff under a manager's beady gaze. In poem after startling poem, Geitzler's sustained meditation forces our attention back to this absurd microcosm, proving herself a provocative emissary to frantic mass tourism. These imperial floating wedding cakes, she insists, are always ready to blot out the sky, taking those on board with them."
~ Tammy Armstrong, author of Take Us Quietly
"Armed with wit, an anthropologist's curiosity and a gift-shop service job, Kayla Geitzler charts cruise ship life from below deck (way below) and behind the counter, navigating culturally specific hangover cures and avoiding the sexual advances of the Food and Beverage manager. If David Foster Wallace--with his compassion and writerly acumen--had worked on a cruise instead of taken a cruise, it might have looked like this."
~ Sue Sinclair, author of Heaven's Thieves