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Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby Dick
by Wilda Morris
70 poems, 123 pages
Price $17.00
ISBN 978-1-949229-60-8
Publisher: Kelsay Books Aldrich Press
To Order: Amazon or


Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick, is the result poet Wilda Morris's efforts to fill
gaps in her education. The gaps developed because Morris took no literature courses in
college. Herman Melville was one author, among others, which captured her attention.
After spending considerable time with Melville, receiving inspiration from him for her
own writing she did a deep dive into Melville's work. The present volume bears witness
to years of research, writing, rewriting and perfecting a poetic response to Melville's
seminal work. Like the novel which spawned Morris's collection, Pequod Poems will
stand the test of time. The term "Gamming" which appears in the subtitle, carries with it
the idea of whaling ships communicating, visiting with one another while at sea. In this
remarkable book of poems, the poet gams with her readers as salt-filled air smacks our
cheeks, as whales blow and break the surface, as the ocean opens its jaws, eager to
swallow ship and crew.


One doesn't have to be a literary scholar to deeply admire and enjoy Wilda Morris's
"Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby Dick—a brilliant compendium of literary insight,
criticism, historical research, and especially her skillfully written poems. Among the
many delights of the latter are reflections narrated by some of Melville's most
unforgettable characters—Ishmael, Queequeg, Starbuck, and Ahab himself, as well as
members of Melville's supporting cast—Pip, Stubb, the Maltese sailor and others. You
will find yourself rewarded by taking a close look at Wilda Morris's remarkable Pequod
—Marilyn L. Taylor, Ph.D., Wisconsin Poet Laureate Emerita

"Wilda Morris's Pequod Poemsis a stunning and deeply imagined collection. Employing
both traditional and invented forms, Morris creates a rich sonic and linguistic world in
which Melville's characters explore their complex lives and reveal to us our own."
—Justen Ahren, Poet Laureate of Martha's Vineyard and author of A Strange Catechism.

Whether or not you've read Moby-Dick, Wilda Morris's book is a wonderful companion.
Like Melville's masterpiece, it is formally adventurous, deeply entertaining, both funny
and philosophical—and redolent of the sea. I learned things about Moby-Dick, about
language, and about the human condition from these fine poems.
—Will Hansen, Director of Reader Services and Curator of Americana and facilitator of
adult education classes on Moby-Dick, Newberry Library, Chicago.


Wilda Morris's grandmother and mother taught her to love poetry. She became serious
about writing poetry after the death of her first grandchild.

Wilda has served as president of both the Illinois State Poetry Society and Poets &
Patrons, a Chicago poetry organization for which she continues to serve as Workshop
Chairperson. She has led poetry workshops for children and for adults. For several years,
she was on the staff of the Christian Writers' Conference at the Green Lake Conference
Center in Wisconsin. She has also led workshops in Illinois and Iowa.

Wilda's first book, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese
was published by RWG Press in 2008. Another poetry manuscript, The
Unapproved Uncle, will be looking for a publisher soon. Wilda has published widely in
journals, websites, newspapers, and anthologies, and has won awards for formal poetry,
free verse and haiku. Wilda Morris's Poetry Challenge at
provides a contest for other poets each month.

Wilda is a graduate of American University and the University of Illinois. She also has an


A Pequod Sailor Speaks
by Wilda Morris

The Atlantic rolling onto the sandy shores
of Nantucket, piping plovers and screeching gulls,
oysters and crabs in the inlets,
rising sun painting pastel wrinkles
on ever-moving wateró
this was nature as I loved it
in my boyhood.

Broken masts, bereft wives
and fatherless children
tell another story of the sea.
Still, I canít resist the challenge
to prove my manhood
and test my nature against
the earth's salty liquid overcoat.

At first it is easy.
We float through languid days
on indolent trade winds under skies
blue as Nantucket violets.
When I watch the sun set, coloring
the infinite spread of fluid ribbons,
I drift into meditative silence.

Sudden winds bellow, curdle foam.
Sword-sharp, they rip the sails, shriek
and break the mast. Lightning stabs
billowing water. The ocean I love bares its teeth,
opens its jaws, eager to swallow ship and crew.
The turncoat sea leaps over the bulwarks,
Judas, kissing the captain.

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