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Resounds: Cara Chamberlain

Cara Chamberlain at the YPR studios
Anna Paige
Cara Chamberlain at the YPR studios

Cara Chamberlain is a conservationist and advocate of animals of all kinds. In 2023, her latest collection of poems, To Gaze Upon Their Loveliness, was released by Finishing Line Press in Kentucky. The collection is full of poetic love letters, not to the natural world, but from the natural world. Chamberlain has long written about her love of animals and the natural world in her poetry, and she is also the author of Hidden Things, The Divine Botany, and Lament of the Antichrist in a Secular World and Other Poems.

There’s duality in To Gaze Upon Their Loveliness, but also the sense that the natural world does not require an audience – that its loveliness is simple, brutal, and honest. In the poems, humans are almost entirely absent, except for a few. In "Swordfish Love Long," there’s a section that harkens to Chamberlain’s own struggles with the human intervention in the natural world, written from a photographer's point of view. “Sometimes I think of myself as a voyeur / turning to design another’s grief. They’re just fish, it’s true, and to be sure, this is art. It’s hard to be detached.”

Chamberlain was born and raised in Salt Lake City and grew up hiking in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains and birdwatching along the bays and inlets of the Great Salt Lake. She moved to Montana in 2006 with her husband and son, and has taught at Rocky Mountain College, Montana State University, Northwest College in Powell, and at universities in Maine, Florida, and New Brunswick, Canada. She is currently a free-lance copy editor based in Billings.

The book is dedicated to Chamberlain’s husband and fellow writer, Bernard Quetchenbach. Together, she writes, they have “gazed upon many lovely creatures, who have, in turn, gazed back upon us.”

Chamberlain first appeared on Resounds in 2017, when she was interviewed with Quetchenbach.

Anna Paige is a Montana-based journalist, poet and educator. She is originally from Wyoming and has lived in Billings for more than a decade, where she co-founded Young Poets, winner of the 2021 Library of Congress Award for Literacy.
Corby Skinner is an independent marketing professional with an enormous capacity for assessing issues and creating positive, effective messages.