The Ballad of the New Carissa and Other Poems

The New Carissa freighter ran aground near Coos Bay, Ore., during a storm in 1999, creating a mishap of epic proportions that took years to clean up. This event is the inspiration for Kari Wergeland’s long ballad and title of her second book of poems, The Ballad of the New Carissa and Other Poems.

The book, available in paperback, can be purchased via and other online vendors, as well as Baker & Taylor and Ingram.

This is a collection of fearless poems celebrating the Oregon Coast in all of its magnificence. Wergeland is at home writing in both free verse and traditional poetic forms, as the book shows. Coastal scenes and the balance of inner landscapes and a marine exterior turn up in surprising ways—the pulse of the weather, shifting sands, and creatures in the sea and on the shore. Humans flirting with dangerous tides do not escape her scrutiny. The long titular ballad of Part 4 takes a narrative approach in re-telling the many overlapping stories of coastal life with a grounded, decaying freighter in their midst. In this volume, Wergeland offers up a rich panoramic segment of America’s Pacific edge.