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Guide to Urban Reindeer
Kate Partridge


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Guide to Urban Reindeer is a lyric prose sequence, an excerpt from a longer project that responds to photographs from the construction of the Alaska Railroad during the 1910s. Part ekphrasis and part archive, this project layers the federal experiments of settler life and agriculture in the North against life in contemporary Anchorage. The essay’s scope pulls in baby beauty contests and Alaskan carrots, as well as soundscapes and engineering. Of course, there is also a celebrity reindeer.
 
AN EXCERPT FROM EP 89
 
“49. In private photos, the ingenuity of individuals takes center stage. Someone has built a baby sled out of a tea crate and an umbrella. Men have put up roadhouses along the route. A husky appears as a pack animal, carrying a sack, pails, and a frying pan strapped over his back and sides. His expression indicates complete seriousness regarding the task.”
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
KATE PARTRIDGE is the author of Ends of the Earth. She is a graduate fellow at the University of Southern California.


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Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.