Laury Egan
The Sea & Beyond

~ L A U R Y  A.  E G A N ~

Laury's previous FootHills books:
Snow, Shadows, a Stranger
Beneath the Lion's Paw

"Imagine the powers of a poet who can pour the oceans of the Earth into a thimble and not spill a drop. Such are Laury Egan's talents in The Sea & Beyond: to evoke the sea in all its incarnations. Thus we discover that `Tsunamis are its crowning achievement./ Its greatest amusement: the rogue wave' and that the sea has `designs on Earth and is stealth/ itself in its slow conquering.' From primordial soup to the contemporary `perfidious intent' of global warming, Egan's words swim and surf through the brine, bringing to life its natural history, its impacts on human history. But brace yourself. If the first half of the book subsumes our planet's vast oceans, the second goes further. From comets to clouds, from `the silent spaces between notes,' to the `quiet places where we never look,' Egan's master poem `Beyond' takes us deep into the ephemeral, the ineffable-that time-place of `beyond' which `cannot be conjugated by time.' Here is the dithyrambic and the mythic exquisitely melded; here is simply, profoundly `the world's infinity.' Be prepared to be swept away."
-Karla Linn Merrifield, author of The Ice Decides: Poems of Antarctica
(Finishing Line Press, 2012) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing)

Poet's Statement:

The Sea & Beyond is composed of two long poems: "The Sea" and "Beyond" and a short interface poem that serves as a link, a kind of poetic ampersand. The tone throughout is wry, sometimes ominous and dark, sometimes metaphysical and cosmic. Though ecological concerns are expressed, my primary wish was to portray the sea and beyond as personalities, possessing quirks, moods, attitudes, and beliefs, especially in their own omnipotence.

From "The Sea"

The sea has designs on Earth and is stealth
itself in its slow conquering.

Though it has frightening memories of the Ice Age
some 25,000 years ago and worries about another,
it has secret plans for New Orleans, Charleston, Boston,
New York; the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware,
Florida, and the Carolinas.

Soon, it foresees that Venice will exist
as a new submarine hell and ghosts of Doges
will swim over the Bridge of Sighs and taunt
tourists peering through glass-bottom boats
at its sunken splendor.

In its history, the sea has been surprised,
swallowed up to die of thirst in the formation
of new continents.
Perhaps this is why it is so wary,
always on the fly lest it be caught like
the Great Salt Lake in some geologic trap.

It has watched the rise of cities
and waits.

Laury A. Egan has traveled to four continents but always returns to the New Jersey hills overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where she began composing poems at age eight. Her two full-length poetry books, Snow, Shadows, a Stranger (2009) and Beneath the Lion's Paw (2011), were issued by FootHills Publishing. A collection, Fog and Other Stories, appeared under the imprint of Publishing, and a psychological suspense novel, Jenny Kidd, was published by Vagabondage Press, both in 2012. In addition to writing poetry and fiction, she is a fine arts photographer.
Her website: and blog:  

The Sea & Beyond is a 24 page hand-stitched chapbook.   $10.00

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the Lion's Paw
Laury A. Egan

“Laury Egan's Beneath the Lion's Paw first uncurls gradually, the soft flex of its pads treading a meditative and introspective ground. The natural scenery coasts by in rock-steady narratives. But this calm delivery is just foreshadowing for the progression of hard, striking images, `logs lodged like crowbars in the cove,' that will emerge in this collection. Egan's wry irony bleeds through her taut construc-tions, surprises with both warm and bitter moments. Yet unlike `Rex,' a dog who might fancy himself a lion, but gets sidetracked by treats, Egan's `attention to small rewards' for readers gives them constant reassurance that she's never really forgotten her truest self, even when lethargy or inertia sets in and the birdfeeder remains empty.”  
                             -Eve Anthony Hanninen, Poet, Illustrator, and Editor of The Centrifugal Eye

“In Laury Egan's newest book of poetry, the common becomes pro-found, the specific becomes universal, and the details of her sur-roundings provide deep insight into the nature of life. Celebrations, tragedies, and moments of tranquility all have their place here, and her poetry illuminates readers just as the experiences she describes have illuminated her.”
                                                    -Gregory Miller, author of Scaring the Crows and Four Autumns

From the book:

Beneath the Lion's Paw

Despite the heat,
the trick of switchbacks,
the vertiginous cliffs so close,
the waterfalls that sweep
even less foolish souls away,
the waving grass that erases
my path, I press on, knowing
the lion waits...

…he waits
with a golden nugget
beneath his tawny paw,
the treasure for those
weary solo travelers
who dare his den, risking
its unknown dangers.


The willow looks limber,
yellow-green, branches slender,
embraced by wind,
yet, unbeknownst to most,
this litheness is a lie:
willows easily crack.

Standing by shallow streams,
their marrow runs lush with water.
Loved by lightning, they fear
the golden bolt that will split
their sensual grace in half.

Laury A. Egan's first collection, Snow, Shadows, a Stranger, was issued by FootHills Publishing in 2009. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Web, Best of the Net, and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Ledge, Emily Dickinson Awards Anthology, Foliate Oak, The Centrifugal Eye, and Boston Literary Quarterly. She also writes fiction and is a fine arts photographer.

Beneath the Lion's Paw is a 72 Page hand-stitched paper book with spine - $16.00.

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 Laury A. Egan
Snow, Shadows, a Stranger

     Overviews about a collection are difficult to write, especially since I often focus on tree rather than forest, finding inspiration in a single natural detail and examining it for insights into my emotions, experiences, and memories. My first poem-written at age eight-originated in this fashion, and ever since, the weaving of self and nature into a symbiotic construct has supported me through loneliness and loss, through the blizzards and shadowy periods of life. It has also provided joy and an appreciation for the world's caprices.
     Despite this connection to nature, I have always felt like a stranger among people bound by family, faith, and community. My social separateness was frequently painful, but it also forced me to assume the role of observer, to work through isolation by writing, which became my trusted lifeboat, just as nature was a steadfast friend.
     Many of the poems in Snow, Shadows, a Stranger explore the dark corridors of the past or anticipate those leading to a final exit; others hover on the narrow ledge of the present. Sometimes my work is enigmatic because of innate reticence or, more often, because I hope the reader will substitute his or her experience for mine, and, in doing so, will realize we are all strangers.

     I devote this book to loves lost,
     to those leaving or who will leave,
     to my own final exit.

With these lines from the opening poem, Laury Egan draws the reader into a stranger's world where she considers childhood hopes and shadowy lovers, the loss and loneliness of middle age, and the awareness of the approaching last stage of life, whispering ominously in the wings. Written with lyric intensity, Snow, Shadows, a Stranger celebrates the forest, field, and sea as the poet weaves her experience of the natural with the emotional and philosophical.

“Hardness fits my hand / carves the contours of my dark hope,” writes Laury Egan. Snow, Shadows, a Stranger is indeed often dark. We endure with her “white spikes of lightning” and “tick of sleet.” We learn how to survive longing and loss as she has. Her “affinity for shadows” helps us cope with our own. But this is also a book of hope. Her lush imagery of the natural world propels us beyond the shadows; she engages all our senses and we emerge from the book renewed, as if we too were “wild onions greener than new grass.” Egan is a woman of courage, hers is a poetic voice unafraid.
-Karla Linn Merrifield, Midst; Godwit: Poems of Canada; and Dawn of Migration and Other Audubon Dreams

From the book:


After midnight, snow falls,
draping napkins around dark necks of trees,
licking branches with spits of ice, waiting
for moon's bright enlightenment.

I wait, too, as a trillion frozen flakes compress
into the music of silence, a silence only I can hear
since only those alone can detect soundlessness.


The lone child playing in the laurel,
tastes solitude as sweet, believing
her only true friends are trees.
Imagining stories, she hides
within the enclave of shiny leaves.

     The child knows who she is,
     alone amidst the laurel.

The lone woman looks out upon the laurel,
tastes solitude, but finds it not so sweet.
Although she yearns for new connections
besides her friendship with trees, she hides
within a house, imagining stories,
surrounded by shiny leaves.

     The woman knows who she is,
     alone amidst the laurel.

Snow, Shadows, A Stranger
is an 80 page hand-stitched paper book w/spine.

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