Poem of the Week in TMR!

TMRI started my poem “Then a While Dedication” (featured at The Missouri Review) while sitting on a bench in a field at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Redwing, Minnesota. The Center—an old estate built by the inventor of puffed rice—was originally in the middle of nowhere. But now a four-lane highway runs right by its gates, so the sound of passing trucks and cars reaches every last corner on the property. The sound brought to mind the history of our interstate system, which was built as a defense route, and how it dispossessed thousands of people of their land, destroying neighborhoods and communities. It also brought to mind the ocean waves and my two young daughters, running along the beach. I was missing them. The poem comes from a series set in the California chaparral region, a landscape affected by climate change and the ecological disaster of drought—only in this case the drought is also internal, reflecting the silences that society maintains around the experiences of women. The poem owes some of its structure of thought to Ursula K. LeGuin’s “Initiation Song from the Finder’s Lodge,” and the title is a misquoting of Shakespeare’s “A cause more promising / Than a wild dedication of yourselves / To unpath’d waters, undream’d shores, most certain / To miseries enough.”

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