Gretel Ehrlich, poet and award winning nature-writer, was stunned when she heard the news of Japan’s earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Japan’s Tohoku’s coast, now ravished by the disaster, was where Ehrlich had lived years earlier while studying Japanese art and poetry. After hearing the news, Ehrlich was compelled to visit the devastated region and bear witness to the reality behind the headlines. In a poet’s deft and observing language, Ehrlich balances her own reaction with those of the survivors, blending poetry, scientific observation, and survivor’s testimony into one. Facing the Wave is a mosaic of observation and witnessing that speaks to the harrowing devastation of a region affected, but also to the intimate awe of a people holding hope and gaining ground after the wake of tragedy. This is a beautiful blend of refection and reporting that makes for a stunning read.