This collection of poems begins with the Sonoran Desert, a return to personal and social histories. Poems crisscross the desert to bear witness to the live repercussions of past and contemporary events, from Bisbee, Arizona, in 1917 to the border country one hundred years later. The vision widens to chart a contemplative orientation between the desert as a place of refuge and beauty, and the desert, in Thomas Merton’s words, as “the country of madness.” The elegiac spirit that runs through the collection is the same one that searches for tenors of human connection and solidarity. Children play a central role in this project. Traveling far beyond the southwest, from Olaszfalu, Hungary, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, histories and communities are experienced as interspersing realities. Poems seek to be responsive to and responsible for memory in its many iterations, including the birth of language itself, so that the meaning of home ground can be revealed. In this way, the desert is both a geographic place as well as an interior, more expansive, and difficult to define terrain, a literal and figurative desert.
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