Table of contents

xi The Journey
1 Lines Toward Ice
7 Pyramiden
13 Ornithomancy
19 Night
23 Bone
29 The Men at the Edge of the World
35 She Becomes the Ocean
41 Arctic by Air
47 Afloat
53 Barentsburg
59 Cusp
65 Postcard from Svalbard
71 At the Face
77 Threads
83 Leaving Days
89 Song to the Boreal


From the endangered Canadian boreal forest to the environmentally threatened Svalbard archipelago off the coast of Norway, Butler takes us on a sea voyage that connects continents and traces the impacts of climate change on northern lands. With a feminist gaze, she questions explorer narratives and the mythic draw of the polar North. As a woman who cannot have children, she writes out the internal friction of travelling in Svalbard during the fertile height of the Arctic summer. To learn more about this publisher, click here: http://bit. ly/1KDLsjc


  • Winner, AUPresses Book, Jacket, & Journal Show - Poetry and Literature 2019
  • Short-listed, Trade Non-Fiction | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta 2019
  • Short-listed, INDIE Book of the Year Awards (Travel) | Foreword Reviews 2019
  • Short-listed, Banff Mountain Book Competition; Mountain & Wilderness Literature – Fiction & Poetry 2019


# 7 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, August 16, 2018

# 3 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, December 01, 2018

“…an alternate view of the grandeur of Arctic nature, the paradox of Russian mining settlements in an area under Norwegian sovereignty, the critically endangered nature of the islands, how people respond to the extreme environment and living conditions in the Arctic, and a deep personal reflection on traveling to this part of the globe…” Ingo Heidbrink, The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, Vol. XXVIII, No. 4 [Full review at https://www. cnrs-scrn. org/northern_mariner/vol28/tnm_28_br_385-438. pdf]

- Ingo Heidbrink

"Magnetic North is a beautiful little book, full of moments of intense vision, but it’s also another ecological warning, couched in a poet’s deep understanding of what she has seen & recorded in our now changing north. Wholly engaging both emotionally & intellectually, it’s one of those books that truly adds to our understanding of the world we live in & continue to wound. " [Full review at https://eclecticruckus. wordpress. com/2018/09/28/jenna-butlers-visionary-voyage-into-the-arctic/]

- Douglas Barbour

"The remote island of Spitsbergen, on Norway’s northern Svalbard archipelago, provides the setting for Butler’s evocative ruminations on the harsh beauty at the edge of the world. ... Butler’s book is not a standard travel narrative; rather, she wields poetic prose to describe a place that most humans will never visit. The result is highly recommended for lovers of poetry and nature writing. "

- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Magnetic North is a delight, perfect for amateur botanists, naturalists or simply admirers of Butler's astonishing gifts as a poet. "

- Shirley Roburn

This is a beautiful series of portraits of place and time and captures ecological shifts, women who work in the places they're anchored and her own body’s experience of being on boat, dinghy and icy land.

- Yvonne Blomer, 49th Shelf, March 28, 2022

# 1 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, January 13, 2019

- Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

"[Jenna Butler is an] acute observer and a precise and cogent writer... [Hers] is a journey motivated by curiosity about the north, and a longing for sights to be seen before they disappear forever. Her descriptions of settlements scattered between mainland Norway and the Arctic Circle are evocative: her prose is poetic, and her poems (interspersed in the text) are visual and concrete." [Full review at]

- Hilary Turner