To celebrate the release of, What the Willow Said as It Fell, the new book from Andrea Scarpino, we asked the Upper Peninsula’s poet laureate what her top ten poetry books are with ties to the U.P.
1. A Story of America Goes Walking by Saara Myrene Raappana and Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton (an absolutely wonderful brand new collaboration of poetry and visual images)
2. In the Land We Imagined Ourselves by Jonathan Johnson
3. Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, edited by Ronald Riekki
4. Errata by Lisa Fay Coutley
5. Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now, edited by Grace Chaillier and Rebecca Tavernini
6. Small Enterprise by Mary Biddinger
7. Milk Tooth, Levee, Fever by Saara Myrene Raappana
8. How to End Up by Jennifer A. Howard (technically, this is a chapbook of short short stories, but it reads like poetry, and I just love it)
9. Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged by Russell Thorburn (Russ is the first poet laureate of the UP, and this is my favorite of his collections)
10. Light as Sparrows by Jillena Rose
Scarpino’s book-length poem, out now from Red Hen Press, “bears witness to the body as a site of loss, to chronic pain as an all-encompassing experience, and to the mythological and medical ways we understand the body as it is continually created and lost,” according to the publisher.
“(It) asks the reader to sit with and inside the body’s many losses, to grow comfortable and restless in its vagaries, and to acknowledge the myriad ways the body shapes and informs our lives,” the publisher said in a press release. “Incorporating found poetry, including from her own medical records, and the ash and willow tree as mythological figures, Scarpino writes with lyric intensity from a place of resistance and questioning as she tries to describe, understand, and record chronic pain as a growing epidemic.”
Find the book here.