A bight is a long gradual bend or gentle indentation in the shoreline of an open coast or bay. The bight region in New York is a great expanse of shallow ocean between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. In “The Bight,” poet Elizabeth Bishop describes the busy scene along a bight: sponge boats “bristling with jackstraw gaffs and hooks”; pelicans diving, hitting the water hard, flying off “with humorous elbowings”; a dredge at work; shark tails hung to dry; broken boats piled up—and at low tide, “how sheer the water is.” Totem Bight State Historical Park, located along the curving shoreline of Revillagigedo Island, Alaska, contains a model native village with an authentically constructed clan house and fourteen totem poles replicating those of the Tlingit and Haida peoples. Originally a fish camp of these native peoples, the site was once called Mud Bight.

Pattiann Rogers