Horse Latitudes

C J Eggett
Feb 10, 2019 · 2 min read

Sometimes poetry is about expressing simple things, like the inexpressible nuances of different kinds of love. Blythe Baird’s What I Couldn’t Explain Via Text is an example of that:

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Explaining unexplainable feelings is always like an exercise in black out poetry — it’s the suggestion of things that aren’t, the negative space of it, that starts to provide meaning. There is a reaching throughout the poem, looking to name a feeling, mistaking the man made for the cosmic — both in the latter case remarkable, and therefore, maybe not a mistake at all.

You can pick up If My Body Could Speak by Blythe Baird from Button Poetry.

If you’re baffled by the phrase: the horse latitudes are natural areas of calm in the ocean, mostly around Central and South America. Places where the winds die down and leave sail-powered boats shit out of luck, to use a sailor’s phrase. When trapped in calm seas, old-timey cargo ships would, depending on who’s telling the tale, drop their horses overboard (to save on food and water) or just eat the horses (to save slightly more on food). There’s also an explanation involving effigies, but it’s less frequently cited.

Safe to say, writers really like this metaphor.

A quote from the excellent round up of 12 books called the horse latitudes — in which all 12 books are reviewed in brief. This is the kind of thing that the internet was made for: essays of archival folly.

This week’s soundtrack has been the aptly titled The Art Of Chill mixed by Jon Hopkins:

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Particularly like this one.

Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own, my own essay of archival folly. This newsletter is what gets taped over in my brain every time I have a good idea. I guess I am in a soppy mood this week, looking at the stories and poems I have included. This is a very good tweet from Jos because it’s kind of one of the tentpoles of Feeld, which I wrote about here. So-da.

Etch To Their Own

Everybody makes a mark somewhere.

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