About the Poems
by Cindy St. Johns
I spent last summer in the far West Texas desert, a very beautiful landscape that can also be unforgiving and relentless. My poems are often concerned with place and the body, how to translate the physical into language, which I acutely felt out west. During that time, I found myself geographically between two tragedies: the BP oil spill and the violence at the U.S./Mexico border, the latter of which I am still trying to articulate in my writing, but both darkly weave through the poems here. Things are more vulnerable in the desert, you can see where the storm breaks and trace the outline of each ocotillo plant against the bright sky, and I hope these poems convey some of that openness. I also sat on my porch a lot, sipping tequila and reading. Jack Spicer and Alice Notley were great influences, as well as Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers and Cormac McCarthy.