Contact: Natasha Dworkin
P: 206-543-9762 F: 206-616-7537

What the Ice Gets: Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition
Author Melinda Mueller reads from her epic poem
Thurs., Oct. 11, 6:30—7:30 pm, Burke Room

Seattle, Sept. 6, 2001– On Thursday, October 11, the Burke Museum is pleased to welcome Melinda Mueller, author of the critically acclaimed What the Ice Gets: Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition (Van West & Company, Nov. 2000). Voted one of the top ten poetry books of 2000, What the Ice Gets is a uniquely vivid telling of the epic tale of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914 Endurance expedition. After nearly two years stranded on the Antarctic ice, and a series of harrowing trials in their quest for self-rescue, Shackleton and his 28-member crew made it out of Antarctica alive. Mueller recreates this miraculous story of survival, blending historical, scientific, and literary scholarship with an impressive range of poetic forms.

When Shackleton was assembling his crew for the Endurance expedition, the goal of which was to be the first to traverse the Antarctic continent, he had only an inkling of the adventure that awaited. "Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small Wages. Bitter Cold. Long Months of Complete Darkness. Constant Danger. Safe Return Doubtful. Honour and Recognition in Case of Success," said Shackleton’s advertisement. The astounding turn of events, spawned when his ship was trapped and crushed in the Antarctic ice, has all the elements of a great adventure: the journey is heroic, the landscape is mythic, and the company is motley. Mueller’s What the Ice Gets tells the story of men drawn to the challenge with the persistence of migratory birds that "come back/ season after season/ in all their feathers, immortality/ with flesh on it."

"There's a way that poetry, with its stripped-down language, its staccato minimalism, its nearness to like a trip to the Pole." —Rebecca Brown, The Stranger

"Both passionate and precise, this is a moving and powerful telling of one of the last century's greatest voyages." —Andrea Barrett, author of The Voyage of the Narwhal

"I greatly admire What the Ice Gets: its drive, its high intelligence, its passages of brilliant, bravado writing…. I’m hugely impressed by Mueller’s handling of the Shackleton story." —Jonathan Raban

Melinda Mueller will read from What the Ice Gets: Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition; discuss her research, and sign copies of her book. The reading is included with museum suggested donation and with admission to the Endurance photographic exhibit.

Co-sponsored by University Bookstore.

The Burke Museum is located at the corner of NE 45th St and 17th Ave NE, on the University of Washington campus. The museum is closed July 4, Nov. 22, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1. Closing at 3 pm on Dec. 24th. Parking is $7/day, $3/evening (fee required at entry, in cash or check only; prorated refund dependent on length of stay). Parking is free after noon on Saturday and all day Sunday.

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