Chasing Weather


Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word & Image

by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Stephen Locke

Winner, Kansas Notable Book Midwest Booksellers Assn. Best Pick

Buy your copy from Caryn, delivered or shipped to you for free. Also available in Lawrence, Kansas at the Raven Bookstore, and Signs of Life, and at the Merc. Also at Ice Cube Press, and on Amazon.

Our Story: We love weather. As a girl, it was love at first storm for Caryn, who grew up in the east. When she landed in Kansas, shUntitlede was hooked for life. Stephen, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, was captivated by the afternoon thunderstorms from the mountains, especially the cloud-to-ground lightning. We met on Facebook when Stephen asked Caryn the very question she was about to ask him: do we want to create a book together of poetry and photography? For the last four years, we've been creating a whole body of new work in word and image of thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail storms, panoramic lightning, sunset and midnight storms, and spectacular supercells. Weather subtly shapes our days, infuses our moods and interactions, and at times, completely re-orients our lives. Catching moments of stunning beauty and surprising shifts in the sky helps make the vibrant and variable world more visible to us, and shows us how to truly see where and who we are.

Words of Praise for Chasing Weather:

August 17, 2009: The Watonga supercell, rotating wall cloud/updraft base, cloud to ground lighting, Oklahoma

“This ravishing call and response between a fearlessly roving artist-with-a-camera (Locke) and a lyric laureate of the heart’s workings under Kansas heavens (Mirriam-Goldberg) is both glorious and intimate. Wonderfully illustrating the dynamism and vastness of prairie skies and prairie soul, Chasing Weather is a volume to treasure in these stormy times.” ~ Stephanie Mills, author, Tough Little Beauties and Epicurean Simplicity

“The photographs are tempest wars, but a war of flowers and silence and color and God’s calling his/her poems out over the land. And the poems are silver threads that weave through the darkening sky and gates and light unspooling from the heart’s loom a dream of joy and ancestral echoes.” ~ Jimmy Santiago stephen_locke_MG_0355Baca, author, A Glass Of Water and Singing At The Gates and founder, Cedar Tree, Inc.

“What a beautiful book, a gorgeous pairing of photos and poetry! These images are at once alluring and startling, awe-inspiring and terrifying—the joining of heaven and earth. Chasing Weather unlocks the power of nature on the Great Plains—the ever changing, fascinating drama of the sky.” ~ Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of Iowa, author, Farmscape: The Changing Rural Environment

“When the poems in this book, billowing among images that take my breath, say ‘the sky is made of rivers before and after they become rivers,’ and ‘the sycamore buds into tomorrow,’ savoring ‘the threat to come and the yearning to plant,’ I am swept away like a leaf before the storm. I pity people who don’t know a sky like this, who don’t have these words of electric insight, spoken true, blessing the open country at the mercy of the storm.”~ Kim Stafford, editor, Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by William Stafford

“Being a native Kansan, I thought I had a clear image of what stormy, tornado-ridden skies looked and felt like, but after seeing Stephen Locke’s astonishing, almost surreal photographs, I realize how much I had missed. Coupled with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s lyrical, other-worldly poetry, the photographs come to life and suddenly I can see my beloved Heartland in a whole new way.”~ Kelley Hunt, singer/songwriter, The Beautiful Bones

“Mother Nature’s ever-changing mood often leads to a paradoxical juxtaposition of fury and tranquility on the Great Plains. For the photographer, that moment of perfection can last but a fraction of a second. Stephen Locke possess that unique blend of passionate dedication, preparedness, extreme patience, and a keen eye, capturing nature’s balancing act in a way that many try, but few succeed.  Well done !”~ Evan Bookbinder, Meteorologist, Information Technology Officer at US National Weather Service

Have Us Present Chasing Weather in Your Community!

Since Chasing Weather came out, Stephen and Caryn have given a vibrant presentation -- featuring a virtual storm chase in photography, videos, poetry, and stories -- at many libraries, festivals, community centers, bookstore, colleges, and universities, including Truman State University, Johnson County Community College, Linwood Public Library (KS), Boone County Historical Society (MO), Eat My Words Bookstore (MN), Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, and many more venues. We would love to come to your community too!

See our Press Kit for more details.Please contact Caryn at or 785/766-7159 to talk about the details, including fees (negotiated based on what works for us all). We love to travel with our books and weather stories.

What People Are Saying About Our Chasing Weather Presentations:

About to Chase WeatherChasing Weather took a packed house on a poetic journey into the heart of some of Kansas’s most terrifyingly beautiful storms.  Free State Festival audiences found Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s words and Stephen Locke’s images fascinating, and the concluding virtual storm chase gave everyone the opportunity to experience the thrills of a Kansas tornado from the safety of their seats. -- Sarah Bishop, coordinator of Free State Arts Festival

In a spellbinding presentation, Caryn and Stephen strike at the heart of the storm. Through poetry and striking photography and video, these two reveal the power of a tornado as well as the power of words and images to depict and express this frightening and awe-inspiring weather many of us in this part of the country know so well. -- Kevin Rabas, Chair - English, Modern Languages, and Journalism, and co-director, Creative Writing Program, Emporia State University

Chasing Weather is a memorable work that combines striking photographs with lyrical poetry, and a presentation by the authors brought the book to life for our community. The dynamic presentation combined a moving poetry reading with a virtual storm chase, then engaged the audience with a thorough Q&A and discussion. The event drew a big crowd, and a wide range of ages. Our library customers enjoyed meeting the authors after the event, and left in high spirits. Many attendees noted that they enjoyed the program, and that they learned about storm chasing, too. -- Miranda Ericsson, Topeka Public Library

Excerpt: "What the Sky is Made Of"

The sky is made of soft rain and hard light,

the old yearning to be held, the ancient fear of not

having enough, and the fountain of wind that says,

Something’s gone, something else is arriving.

The sky is made of rocks shattered finer than

the smallest atoms of human memory, air we call breath

once we take it in and turn it to motion, anger, or song.

The beating of hummingbird wings compose the sky,

as well as the fluttering of muscle on muscle, the space

in between the rain, the drum of the jackrabbit's heart.

The sky is made of rivers before and after they become rivers.