Vertically Coastal is divided into two sections: one each on Charleston, S.C., and The Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Poet Jerri Chaplin and her husband, Peter, spend time there alternately, from late fall to early spring "down there" and early spring to late fall "up here." South to North, then North to South: The poet's dual residency has shaped two reciprocal experiences of locale that together form a unified whole, a life that she shares in this book.
Chaplin's poems are about destinations. To paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson, Chaplin writes about having arrived more than traveling hopefully. The biannual trip from Charleston, S.C., to Pittsfield, Mass., transports her from one life to the other. Like a saint of old, she's known for the art of bi-location. Yes, readers, there is no end to the poet's ability.
The poems in Vertically Coastal address the lives she lives in each of these beautiful destinations. These two lives are existential dualities that unite to make her the person she is, was, and will be. Llike intersecting circles, they overlap. Readers of this book will find themlvesun undera spell cast from elements of the vestigial Rebel South and the enduring Yankee North. In Vertically Coastal, there's no War of Northern Aggression or Civil War. South and North come together, reconciled. In this book, you come to meet and know a Person.
-- Dan Valenti, adapted from his introduction