Hand-bound limited edition poetry chapbook. Letterpress-printed cover with Japanese stab binding. Includes original watercolor illustrations by Emily Kalwaitis. 38 pages. 5.5″ x 8.5″. Full color printing. RELEASED JANUARY 31, 2023.
From street gutter to garden path, from coffee shop to alleyway, Within Walking Distance maps the intimate intricacies of small-town life in the footsteps of a poet and her faithful dog. Ellie Altman’s whimsical poems grapple with an aging woman’s sense of belonging in her environment, as she oscillates between feeling at home and feeling like an outsider. There’s a closeness here that she thrives within and pushes back against, like the alley’s “brick walls holding / the night sky in a narrow chute.” And alongside each of these hauntingly charming poems float the dreamlike watercolors of Emily Kalwaitis, a visual artist who lives in this same riverside town. With these enchanting pairings of poem and painting, Within Walking Distance captures a vivid sense of place in equal parts sincerity and irony, foreboding and wonder.
“In poems that are both playful and profound, Ellie Altman takes us on a dog-walk through the small corners of her hometown. Alongside the poet and her loyal pooch, we revel in the surprising tidbits daily life offers up. Luminous illustrations by Emily Kalwaitis amplify our discoveries. This little gem is a tail wag and a delight.” —Meredith Davies Hadaway, author of At the Narrows
“Ellie Altman’s charmingly illustrated Within Walking Distance chronicles a woman’s journey to herself as the speaker, by turns tentative and bold, attempts to find her footing, step by step in a new town. As a newcomer, she frets ‘…what did passersby think of the owner of the welcome-yellow house with dead shrubs—a gaping hole in its otherwise cheerful smile?’ Yet, over the walking miles to and from town with her beloved dog, she has beat her own path, and can lay claim to her own identity and place: ‘I am a poet. I do what I do’ in ‘a riot of life . . . set against / the stage’s backdrop of manicured privet.’” —Nancy Mitchell, author of The Out-of-Body Shop
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