Pictograph Poems

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/28/2015
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions

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“If you would learn the earth as it really is,” N. Scott Momaday writes, “learn it through its sacred places.” With this quote as her guiding light, Melissa Kwasny traveled to the ancient pictograph and petroglyph sites around her rural Montana home. The poems in this collection emerge from these visits and capture the natural world she encounters around the sacred art, filling it with new, personal meaning: brief glimpses of starlight through the trees become a reminder of the impermanence of life, the controlled burn of a forest a sign of the changes associated with aging. Unlike traditional nature poets, however, Kwasny acknowledges the active spirit of each place, agreeing that, “we make a sign and we receive.” Not only do we give meaning to nature, Kwasny suggests, but nature gives meaning to us. As the collection closes, the poems begin to coalesce into a singular pictograph, creating “a fading language that might be a bridge to our existence here.”

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