Monday, January 18, 2016

Remembering Eva Saulitis

Alaskan writer and poet, Eva Saulitis passed away this weekend. Eva has touched almost every writer in the state in one way or another, through her writing, her teaching, her kindness, her support, her example of living completely and authentically.

On Saturday, I watched as people grappled with her passing by posting memories on Facebook, excerpts of her writing, photographs of her exuberant smile. I felt a certain peace in knowing that others were grieving as well; as if the weight of my sorrow was lessened a bit because it was carried by so many others. This is the writing community of Alaska – brave and kind.

I could write more, tell you stories about the Eva I knew. I’m betting that many of us could. But her words are more eloquent than any of mine. I turn you to her work, poetry in Many Ways to Say It and Prayer in Wind. Prose in Leaving Resurrection, Into Great Silence, and forthcoming in Becoming Earth. Her work in AQR and other literary magazines. All of it generous and insightful.

The last time I saw Eva, I told her how much her friendship and her writing meant to me. We talked about how often we thought of each other in the early mornings, just five miles apart, scribbling in our journals, looking out at the same mountains. I’m glad I had a chance to hold her hand and tell her how much I respected and cared for her.

And so I’m going to ask you to join me in affirming that we will not let our busy lives squeeze out the opportunity to share our admiration and support for our fellow writers. Every voice is important, everything you write adds to a great store of goodness, and every time you share your work and share your respect, you enrich the world.

Get out there and pay attention to the world, then write about it.

take care,

She lay down upon rough low plants. Unbuttoned
blouse. Laid strips of moss across scalpel's track.
Gauzed, fern by fern, a glade upon. Shrouded
torso, eye to ankle, in swaths of fleabane, iris,
hellebore. Tattooed back in cranberry ink &
nettle-scratch. Body deconstructed by plant
& mineral, self replaced, cell by cell by soil
by water. Grafted onto earth's skin. Adorned finger
bones with bones of deer & marten. Mind changed into
mind of meadow. Accomplished in an eye-blink
when God's ruthless gaze turned a moment away
from Eden.
~by Eva Saulitis, the final poem in Prayer in Wind


Anonymous said...

Erin, I'm so glad you wrote this. It's not only a thoughtful tribute to Eva, it also encourages the good work she did that we'll miss so much--building up, connecting, remaining open. And of course, writing through it all.
With thanks for all you do.

Sandra Kleven said...

Somehow, sweetly sad. Last week I posted in the dark morning of about 9 an. She said "I am watching it, too." She was right there. Contemplative and responsive. Thank you, Eva. For something so sweet.

Emily said...

Thank you Erin. I love these words: " Every voice is important, everything you write adds to a great store of goodness…" We needed to hear that today.

Sharron Reed Gavin said...

Thank you. Every living soul on this planet has suffered a great loss whether they know it or not. Eva was a gift to this world.

Zack Rogow said...

Thank you, Erin, for that lovely tribute to Eva as a friend and as a writer. She was so unpretentious for such an impressive person, with so many accomplishments.