Margaret Hart

Oct 04, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Catch and Release
and the Art of Steve Thurston


It is Wednesday, April 14th, twelve hours, eleven minutes and 46 seconds until the season opens. A group of colleagues are gathered in the employee cafeteria at the Museum of Natural History to discuss the weeks work over lunch. The cafeteria is in a dimly lit basement of one of the oldest buildings in New York City and Steve Thurston, sitting among them, has that far-away look in his Neptunian blue eyes. I often see that expression in the mirror, so I have to smile; it has been a long, cold winter and his mind is elsewhere.

His distinguished career spans a lifetime of creative achievement in both art and science. Whether it is with a piece of charcoal or the scanning electron microscope, Steve is a master of technique and rendition. But his keen interest in botany and zoology intertwine with a deep rooted passion; Steve loves to fish.

As a young child, in the 1960s, Steve angled for large mouth bass on the freshwater ponds near his home, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.  He scouted every creek for rainbow trout, pickerel, bluegill and catfish. He found tautog grazing for fiddler crab in stony fissures and teased out hickory shad at the breakwaters in Charleston. Where this rugged, rocky coastline eases down from high cliffs to the outwash plain and sand beaches along Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Steve jigged for fluke and flounder in a small skiff, alongside his paternal grandfather.

There, he sketched fern in a freshwater seep behind pitch pine and dune, the shift of verdant shadows in a tangle of catbrier. High above the nest of a wren, woven waist high in the flowering cordgrass, the silvery clouds unfurled like a sail, and unbridled, broke free. A charm of swallows banked in over the rosehips and heather. He painted in concert, the nimble birds, the play of light, the spectrum still searching. Each brush stroke and feather, each turn of a wing, shook loose the lantern, the luster in flight. Each sepia plume, dusky but fleeting, fell muted to sunbeam, and seized hold of its colors. First apricot and violet, then aquamarine. They gathered around him, drenched in pigment and mirth. They swept past his shoulders and up into the wind, like bright, falling leaves. When a fish hawk called out, a sentry and wary, the sharp burst of sound flooded into his heart like a high pitched bell. Down on his belly in the igneous sand, he could feel the faltering waves, unclasp. He traced a fluted facet of stone, silt and clay, and held it up to the sunlight. Steve learned to read the water, to study the fish and their movement. His restless palette came to life; the ocean began to take hold of him.

Ben Thurston spent many decades surfcasting on Cape Cod, Massachusetts; he was an enigmatic man, who was seldom seen off the sand.  While his family enjoyed their weekend visits to the coast each summer, Ben often took up residence there. He would camp out for months and fish along the outer beaches. He lived and travelled in a self-styled beach buggy converted from a U.S. army truck; this adaptation was a rugged precursor to the modern recreational vehicle, and he was not alone in this endeavor. By the late 1950s an entire sub-culture of mobile surfcasters had developed along the eastern seaboard. Cape locals called them the “fishing gypsies.” Anglers traveled for hundreds of miles to fish along Cape Cod. Nauset and Chatham Inlets were legendary fishing grounds and the current at Race Point is famous for holding tremendous numbers of cow bass. Fisherman simply call it, The Race.

To read more and view the artwork, click here:

Cover design is by Steve R. Black
An excerpt of this piece was first published in the October 2009 edition of Natural History Magazine


Margaret Hart is an biologist living on Long Island. Steve Thurston is a scientific illustrator at the American Museum of Natural History. If you would like to learn more about ocean and fisheries conservation, please visit the following websites:

Autumnal 2010, Overfalls Read more

Karolyn Redoute

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Early Morning Captiva

Calusa come again
messengers in white
secret mounds of shell
ghosts of moving tide

arms of broken sea
stars fall on blue crests
fragile sand bones in white
I watch the light

pink and pearl
of shell against my ear
my ear a mirror
of the sound  I hear

the waves turning night
over and over
searching for sound
on sound

blue herons and plovers
come and go now
without the moon
the sun is full

of wind on water
the breath is slow
this is the hour of the heart
the hour of returning

Marsh in Summer

I walk gently
on wood
and pond

my body
like jagged

on wood

far away
fall into
blue nets
of sea

a line
of swallows
takes flight


Karolyn Redoute received an MFA from Indiana University. She enjoys blue water, in Michigan, her home state, and in Minnesota, her adopted state, but loves the ocean best. Prayers of the Shaman, her new book, is forthcoming from Plain View Press.

Autumnal 2010, Littoral Currents Read more

Evan Rapoport

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


Evan Rapoport lives in Kailua, Hawaii and works as a digital media and application specialist. He believes strongly in the power of science, technology, and the arts for promoting social change, particularly for the environment and education. He develops technologies that strive to achieve this vision, and his other passions include reading, photography, the ocean, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Autumnal 2010, Coastal Zone Read more

Jim Fuess

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


Jim Fuess works with liquid acrylic paint on canvas.  Most of his paintings are abstract, but there are recognizable forms and faces in a number of the abstract paintings.  He is striving for grace and fluidity, movement and balance.  He likes color and believes that beauty can be an artistic goal. There is whimsy, fear, energy, movement, fun and dread in his abstract paintings.  A lot of his abstract paintings are anthropomorphic. The shapes seem familiar. The faces are real. The gestures and movements are recognizable. More of his abstract paintings, both in color and black and white, may be seen at

Autumnal 2010, Coastal Zone Read more

Helen Losse

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

It should be obvious

what happened on the beach
where moonlight called to us
by way of sea-foam the color of oysters—

where rounded sea-rocks bathed, sea-oats blew,
where sand was sculpted by and over time—

where his right hand with its hungry palm
settled itself on my left shoulder, even before
we drank wine the color of juniper berries.

*********First published in Redheaded Stepchild (Fall, 2009)
*********Nominated for the Best of the Net Award


Helen Losse’s first book, Better With Friends, was published by Rank Stranger Press in 2009. She is the author of two chapbooks, Gathering the Broken Pieces and Paper Snowflakes.  Her recent poetry publications and acceptances include The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Review, Blue Fifth Review, Referential Magazine, Hobble Creek Review and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Her poem, “Four Snapshots of the Sea-Going Boats” won first place for poetry, 2009 Adult Writing Contest of the Davidson County (NC) Writer’s Guild. She is the Poetry Editor for The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Autumnal 2010, Littoral Currents Read more

Deborah J. Shore

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


********for Sir Jaimes

I see you as a tall white tower,
rounded like a lighthouse, plastered,
a castle of a humble people
by the sea, its windows, all of them,
and they are many, flung open—
arms welcoming the sun.
There should be cliffs nearby.
There should be breeze soon and tides.
But for now, it can just rejoice
in being bright,
in being bathed with light.

The dove will find its way inside,
wings echoing through a shell
that’s clean: the sound
of unending solace
at night, the whisper of a dream
found each morning
on the beach, a boyish surprise.
And these things will abide.

May the Sea Take Back

May the sea take back
what the sea has brought,
the tentacled arms,
the slippery flesh,
the shingle-scales
and fierce, contorted heads,
each row of claw-shaped teeth
and the impressive darkness
trapped beneath.

May the sea take back
what the sea has brought.
Don’t even leave them beached
so near where I lie
regaining my strength
by swallowing sky.
They might learn to walk
before they would die
or whip up a sandstorm
to confuse the eyes.

May the sea take back
what the sea has brought.
I’ve swum so far with these
fastened to my side—
all my shaking off
as though for naught.
So wring them
until, groping, they cannot grope,
until their bloated bodies
no longer dive or breach
but float.


Deborah J. Shore has won first place in two poetry competitions at The Alsop Review and has several other poems included in their print anthology.  She has poems forthcoming in Radix, Anglican Theological Review, Christianity and Literature, and Relief Journal and has older poems out at Avatar Review, Samsara Quarterly, and others. She is working on some prose manuscripts and is starting to formulate two manuscripts out of her poetry under revision: Counting my Days which will look at significant dates on the Judeo-Christian calendar and A Gate Called Beautiful which has a broader aim.

Autumnal 2010, Littoral Currents Read more

Tiffany Bozic

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


Tiffany Bozic has spent the majority of her life living with and observing the intricacies of nature. Her work has the traditional air of tightly rendered nature illustrations but with a highly emotional range of surreal metaphorical themes. In her paintings and sketches she presents her vision of life’s struggles and triumphs that are largely autobiographical.  Her wide array of subjects are inspired both from her extensive travels to wild places, and the research specimens at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA. Over the years, Bozic has developed a complex process of masking and staining so the natural grain can collaborate with each composition using multiple layers of watered down acrylic paint on maple panels of wood.  She has had several solo exhibitions featuring her large-scale paintings and installations. Her work has also been included in numerous group shows across the country, and spoken at international events such as the 2007 Semi Permanent International Arts and Design Conference in Sydney, Australia. She was also the first ‘Artist in Residency’ whereby she collaborated with the California Academy of Sciences, to create the “From the Depths” exhibit on the public floor of the museum, November 2007. Bozic is a self-taught artist living and working in San Francisco, CA. She is currently working on a new body of work that is scheduled to open November 11th 2010 at the Joshua Liner Gallery in NY.

Autumnal 2010, Coastal Zone Read more

Jade Herriman

Sep 28, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

This series uses found materials and discarded paper, and draws on themes of popular culture and the natural environment. In collage created with consumer refuse she uses cultural motifs to create scenes from nature. Their forms and characters are diverse, celebrating the incredible beautiful riotous diversity of nature. The pieces in this series draw our attention to the forgotten players; who stand solemnly and catch us with a steady gaze reminding us of their presence. The bodies of the fish are pieced together mostly from images of objects in beauty magazines, reminding us of the shadow of consumer culture, the refuse and waste from the industrial processes we use to create our objects of beauty that makes it’s way to the ocean, and the vulnerability and strength of the individuals who inhabit this space.


Jade Herriman was born in Adelaide, Australia and currently lives in Sydney. Her interests span creative and policy responses to ecological issues and she currently works as a sustainability researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS.  Her visual arts practice is a form of enquiry that grows from these same interests, and she is particularly interested in ways to use art to engage with the felt responses to sustainability issues. She also has experience in community engagement on environment using creative methods, for instance, using printmaking as a learning space for threatened species, and incorporating youth art processes as part of consultation in strategic planning.

Inspired by artists’ books, illustration, and art as social process, Jade’s practice involves zine making, intaglio printing, fabric printing, drawing and collage

Autumnal 2010, Coastal Zone Read more

Floyd Skloot

Sep 22, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Salmon River Estuary

Drifting close to shore, we enter the shadow
of Cascade Head.  Our kayak jitters in an eddy
as we dip and lift the double-bladed paddles
to keep ourselves steady.  Lit by morning sun,
current and rising tide collide before our eyes
in swirls of foam where the river becomes
the sea.  Surf seethes across a crescent of sand.
Gone now the bald eagle’s scream as it leaves
a treetop aerie, the kingfisher’s woody rattle,
gulls’ cackle, wind’s hiss through mossy brush.
Light flashing through sea mist forges a shaft
of color that arcs a moment toward the horizon
and is gone.  Without speaking, moving together,
we power ourselves out of the calmer dark
and stroke hard for the water’s bright center
where the spring tide will carry us back upriver.

Winter on the Island

In late December nothing could keep us
from walking the shoreline to land’s end.
Storm by storm we saw high summer sands
flattening until the old year died in a surge
of surf.  By then swash stained the beach
gray as the place where sky and rising sea
came together. This was the turning world
as far as we knew it, children learning faith
in longshore drift, the quiet work of currents
beneath all that dark churn and spume.


Floyd Skloot has published fifteen books, most recently the memoir The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life (U. of Nebraska Press, 2008), named one of the top ten northwest books of 2008 by the Oregonian, and The Snow’s Music (LSU Press, 2008), his sixth collection of new poems. His Selected Poems: 1970-2005 (Tupelo Press, 2008) won a Pacific NW Book Award and ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year silver award. Skloot has received three Pushcart Prizes, won a PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction (for his 2003 memoir In the Shadow of Memory), and Oregon Book Awards in both poetry and creative nonfiction.  He was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award in Nonfiction and the PEN Award for the Art of the Essay. His work has twice been included in the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science Writing, and Best Spiritual Writing anthologies, and once in the Best Food Writing and the Best of the Best American Science Writing. He lives in Portland with his wife, Beverly Hallberg, a painter whose work graces the covers of four of his books.

Autumnal 2010, Littoral Currents Read more

Daniel Williams

Sep 22, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

In a Sheltered Cove

Wind arrows all
Point somewhere else

A small cove
Shaped like a harp
With sea horizon its
Deepest string attached

Further out great drama—
Black clouds furred with rain
Deepsea furrows
Veined with spindrift

The world’s wondrous violence
Spares this place
With flat water
Silent sand

Seabirds at rest

Even when they fly
They trace with their flight
quiet language
Across dark vellum

–Devil’s Elbow, OR

Salmon ladder

Nothing more than
Redwood logs   joined
By steel   by threading

A ladder for fish to climb

Ancient course they must pass—
Leaping into cold
Snapping air
To land ten feet further
Along a sacred way

Silver route for life to move
Powerfully back into channels
Where riffles sing beneath ferns

Fog spirits in ravines
Bless this place

Where salmon dance
Delicate spasms of apricot fire
Up their stairway

To birth waters
Full of the milk of the sky

–Nehalem, OR

Salmon plant

Dull twilight at sea
Full of the ichor
Of frozen gods

Ancient star Spica
Cobalt and emerald flash

Full moon gapes through a fog
Shaped like the waterway it follows

Swimming silver knives
Spumes of foil
Flaring magnesium twists

———-Coho salmon upstream

Workers bent to their task-
——————–A river

– Bandon, OR


Daniel Williams resides in the Yosemite region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California.  He has an M.A. in English Literature from San Jose State University and has taught at Foothill College, Columbia College, and Metro State in Denver.  Daniel has read for Poets’ West readings at the Frye Art Museum, Wednesdays at KSER radio, Barnes and Nobles, and Epilogue Books in Seattle, and at Cody’s Books, Berkeley.  He’s also listed in Poets & Writers and is available for readings at

Autumnal 2010, Littoral Currents Read more