Eva Lucia Saulitis was an amazing poet, writer, teacher, and friend. Her endless generosity and huge spirit capitivated everyone who knew her.
Eva’s writing touched countless lives with her powerfully honest and generous sharing of her journey with breast cancer, through her Caring Bridge site and in her published works including her nonfiction memoir, Into Great Silence (Beacon Press, 2013), two poetry collections, Many Ways to Say It (Red Hen Press, 2012) and Prayer in Wind (Boreal Books/Red Hen Press, 2015) and her recently completed collection of essays, Becoming Earth (Boreal Books/Red Hen Press, 2017). Her first book, a collection of essays entitled Leaving Resurrection Chronicles of a Whale Scientist, was published in 2008 by Boreal Books. In 2014, she was recognized with an Alaska Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities. She was also the recipient of writing awards and fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Island Institute.
Writing and teaching were lifelong passions that began with her first diary at age six and ending with her final journal entry just two days before her death. She received an M.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993 and completed her second master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1999. She was an associate professor in the University of Alaska Anchorage Low-Residency MFA program, and continued to mentor her graduate students even during the final weeks of her life, telling us that teaching nourished and healed her. She remembered with fondness her years spent teaching at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College in Homer, AK, where she shared her craft with local students, friends and neighbors.
While her home address was in Homer, she always felt that her true home was found in Prince William Sound where for the past twenty-seven years, together with her life partner Craig Matkin, she studied killer whales. Eva brought her keen gift of observation, her profound love and respect for all living creatures, her adventurous spirit and her spiritual connection to the earth with her wherever she traveled, worked or lived. When not spending long hours looking through binoculars in the quest to “find the whales” in the waters of Prince William Sound, she could be found hiking the islands of the Sound, picking buckets of wild blueberries and salmonberries while calling out to hidden bears, hunkering down in Squire Cove to ride out weather in the cabin of their boat which she had turned into a cozy home complete with homemade curtains, preparing “Hot Dish”, a mixture of egg noodles, fresh caught fish, cream of mushroom soup and lots of cheese; a meal somehow only delicious when prepared in the field, cooking fresh caught fish over an open fire, or sharing stories, music, tears and laughter with friends.
Eva’s House is sponsored by Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli with over 200 individual donations by friends, students, and admirers of Eva.