Both homespun and sophisticated, this book of poems and family memories carries a bite: the author is an Oklahoma woman with a history of hard traveling and a feminist intellectual with a formidable critical vocabulary. She writes in a language of solidarity, affirmation, and love. The story of the daughter who left home, traveled the country, and returned to do her family proud is still worth telling: add to that the heartbreak, lustiness, traditional wisdom, Okie determination, and Indian legacy of these poems and you have quite a bundle. The historic family photographs are breathtaking in their own right: beyond any job of archaeology, they speak the world they portray.
Jeanetta gives an overview of the book:
for the people of new orleans
because i have seen visions of the apocalypse on cable tv
my poems have taken a turn to the biblical
it is not the natural disaster i cannot comprehend
we live and we die by nature's hand
the man-made catastrophe is what stuns me
thousands of abject human beings trapped
in the civic center and the superdome
hunched under the eaves of their inundated homes
days after the hurricane passed
how can we ever explain to ourselves and to our children
the unanswered chant of "help, help, help, help"
echoing through drowned new orleans for six days
long enough, it is said, to create heaven and earth
Jeanetta Calhoun Mish is a native Oklahoman returned home after twenty years to study for her PhD in American Literature and to grow good tomatoes. Her poetry collection, Work Is Love Made Visible, was published by West End Press (in distribution partnership with the...