There is a triumphant and satisfying feeling the first
time one returns to a once-unfamiliar place and
finally feels like it is home. When strangeness is shed
and familiar patterns emerge, there is a deep sense
of comfort that is the reward for those who venture
into new places. When Carolyn Kremers moved
alone to Alaska to teach in Tununak, a village on the
Bering Sea, she faced the challenge of making a
place for herself in the remote coastal town. Struck
by both a sense of adventure and a painful longing
for the familiar, she was forced to confront what it
really meant to feel at home.
Upriver picks up on the story where Kremers’s
previous book, Place of the Pretend People, left off,
further exploring what it means to truly love a place
and how it feels to return, like a salmon swimming
upriver. Set in four distinct locations—Tununak, the
Interior, the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, and
Fairbanks—Kremers uses poetry, music, Yup’ik
language, and much more to tell her story. Infused
with a sense of spirituality, the book will resonate with
anyone who has found a new home beyond the familiar.
Carolyn Kremers is a poet, writer, and musician
living in a cabin at the edge of Fairbanks, Alaska.
She has been artist-in-residence at Gates of the
Arctic National Park & Preserve and Denali National
Park & Preserve. She is the author of Place of the
Pretend People: Gifts from a Yup'ik Eskimo Village.