Haven't read it yet, but this is another entry in what seems to be an answer to the Gioia / New Formalist cry for a New Narrative, this one not in form but in a "slim volume" of "free verse". There are more books than these; this is another facet in that gem -- silicon? carbon? -- that is the project-driven book of poems. In other words, free verse poems which together tell a story is a subset of the poetry project book (rather than a collection) (not a women's epic either), but also an entry into the contest to make poetry an entertainment: here, like watching a drama.
The Forest of Sure Things is a layered sequence of poems set in a remote, historic village at the tip of a peninsula on the Northwest Coast, near where Lewis and Clark encountered the Pacific.
With hypnotic phrasing and imagery along with an innovative approach to chronology, Snyder-Camp tells the story of a grieving couple, then dramatizes the impact of this enigmatic story on her imagination, her artistic practice, and her own new beginnings in married life and parenthood.
"Megan Snyder-Camp's poems seem to emerge from the deep well of our common experiences.... In this book we find the authenticity and care we too often forget we need from poems, inflected with its own version of grace."
-- Carol Ann Davis, judge for the Tupelo Press / Crazyhorse Award
Megan Snyder-Camp grew up in Baltimore and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Washington. She has taught at the University of Washington and the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, where she lives with her family.
The Forest of Sure Things
In this land the children tear their hearts in half.
Let me explain. If ten things are wanted, only ten
can be had. If a stand of birches is found to be made of tin,
the soil around them will bleed with rust. In this land children
study their magazines in broad daylight, and in their books
any soldier who stumbles will not fall. No one will fall,
a gift parents try not to make much of. At every meal
some is set aside. In every garden a patch lies fallow. At parties
there are whispers of illegal cheeses. Camembert, especially,
is said to taste alive. And so the children learn
to make room. To leave some.
Nothing will come, but nothing will go.
To love like this half must rattle in its pit.