Part long poem, part investigation, this true story begins with a whale encounter and then dives into the affair of the École en bateau, a French countercultural school aboard a boat. The École was based on the ideals of ’68, but also twisted ideas about child psychology, Foucault’s philosophy and an abolition of the separation between adults and children. As more troubling details are revealed, the text touches on memory, trauma and environmental grief, ultimately leading to buried echoes from the author’s own life and family history.
At the dark heart of The Whole Singing Ocean is the quesion How is it possible to hold two things—rupture and pain—at once?
The Whole Singing Ocean is a narrative poem of immensities rising from the deep: whales, microplastics, acoustic smog, grief, rapture, abuse. This book does the deep and winding work, the honest and sometimes horrifying, always courageous work of healing. Like the long lines of whale songs, Moore’s polyvocal, lyric tale arrives in “pulses and pings and clicks of rhythm / rapturous and piercing at once.” Where the glittering eye of the ancient mariner holds the wedding guest rapt, this tale issues from the massive eye of a whale. This is a gorgeous book.
Lush, clear-eyed and insightful... a luminous poem.