Dark Traffic


This book’s scattered, honest communications are lyric and concrete and rooted in place, in the body, in violence, in reckoning, and in truth.
Finalist, 2023 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Dark Traffic creates landmarks through language, by which its speakers begin to describe traumas in order to survive and move through them. With fine detail and observation, these poems work in some way like poetic weirs: readers of Kane’s work will see the arctic and subarctic, but also, more broadly, America, and the exigencies of motherhood, indigenous experience, feminism, and climate crises alongside the near-necropastoral of misogyny, violence, and systemic failures. These contexts catch the voice of the poems’ speakers, and we perceive the currents they create.

Excerpt from “Dark Traffic”

Consolation may turn out to be a guttural
practice, after all, the small gesture

of sound lodged deep before it glides
without warning downward.

There is nothing but the wind, a howl
and dive where water is thrown

over water and sown into it.

88 Pages, 6 x 8 in.

September, 2021

isbn : 9780822966623

about the author

Joan Naviyuk Kane

Joan Naviyuk Kane is Inupiaq, with family from King Island (Ugiuvak) and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, Hyperboreal, and Milk Black Carbon. In addition to serving as the 2021 Mary Routt Chair of Creative Writing and Journalism at Scripps College, she teaches poetry and creative nonfiction in the Department of English at Harvard University, is a lecturer in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University, and is faculty in the graduate creative writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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Joan Naviyuk Kane