Poetry Spotlight: The Land We Dreamed

To kick off National Poetry Month, let’s take a look at the recently-published The Land We Dreamed by Joe Survant. In the author’s words, the poetry in the book “attempts to satisfy a long and deeply held curiosity about the early experiences of people in Kentucky, beginning with the first Ice Age hunters who wandered south of the glaciers into what must have seemed a paradise and stretching to the pioneers at the edge of civilization in the late eighteenth century.” Survant writes in the perspectives of the early settlers, missionaries, and Native Americans who populated the region. Survant’s poetry brings us up close to experiences that are so far away in time.

From “Noel, Seul”:

Under an infinite
canopy of leavesThe Land We Dreamed
I enter a mystery

unlike the blank forests
of the north. Stopping
to rest, I find

small wild strawberries
shining like sacred hearts
in their green viny nests,

but tasting not so sweet
as the berries of Dieppe.
I see again their stain upon

her lips and taste the juice
upon my own. I thought
this wild world would divide

me from myself, but
look and find my grief
hiding in these leaves.

I hear it in the
woodpecker’s furious
beating in the trees.

I cannot see my feet.
I turn and stumble
on the mole-molested ground.

 

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