The Crossing Over by Jen Karetnick

The Crossing Over by Jen Karetnick

Winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest

We are so thrilled to announce the release of Jen Kartetnick’s The Crossing Over, winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest. This terrific chapbook is available at our e-store, Amazon, and independent booksellers.


These poems about the migrant experience in the Mediterranean, narrated from the boat's point of view, begin with the crafting of the vehicle – the birth of its voice – and end with its destruction. As much participant as it is victim, the boat is the lens through which the reader sees all that happens to the refugees: smuggling, hunger and thirst, rape, drowning, organ stealing, deportation, and repatriation – and, for some, survival in a new country Embodied by its burden of human experience, from birth in open international waters to an airplane exploding overhead from a bomb, the boat strives to interact with humans, good and evil, as well as the Mediterranean Sea itself, and all that it contains and maintains, both natural and made. As such, it takes on a variety of personas, becoming at turns unwitting witness to and un/willing partner of the refugees of various global crises, who have no choice but to make these desperate ocean journeys.


“Boat as metaphor for what we carry. Boat as vessel (woman), boat as adventure (man and conquest). Boat as witness to abominations that befall immigrants and refugees. Boat lost at sea, ‘a brief dream the ocean / once had’ – as we all are sometimes lost. Boat as death, driven by Charon. Jen Karetnick’s The Crossing Over is a political, moral journey, a tour de force built by sonnets, lists, a ghazal, a concrete poem, a pantoum, and literary magic.” — Denise Duhamel, author of Scald

“This book is our most awaited guide for understanding what it means to be human among humans – or as the poet says, for ‘learning the rites for search and rescue.’ And, in order to command this search, Karetnick, like the most masterful of guides and poets, is willing to lead us and to look where most of us cannot. For this book, for this guide, this poet, we are right to be grateful.” — M.B. McLatchey, author of The Lame God


Jen Karetnick is the author of four poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail and The Burning Where Breath Used to Be, four other poetry chapbooks, and author/co-author of four cookbooks, including Ice Cube Tray Recipes: 75 Easy and Creative Kitchen Hacks for Freezing, Cooking, and Baking with Ice Cube Trays. Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, JAMA, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Ovenbird, Salamander, and Tampa Review. She is co-founder/co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every Day. She works as the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine and as a freelance lifestyle journalist.