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Blood Creek, by Shannon Camlin Ward
Blood Creek draws its voice and subjects from Ward’s own haunted origins as a woman and a daughter–adeptly translating them into a series of images and stories we can both witness and take part in as readers. The ghostly butcher who appears throughout these poems helps ground them in the possible–the real–by anchoring us in an anti-Edenic landscape in which a constant tension between fear and courage makes joy possible. Like her outcast sister who longs to steal her stepfather’s truck, “rip the poems from his lips, and drive south,” Ward calls us to take part in the telling of her own family’s history from both its periphery and its center, reminding us all the while that dressing our own cuts–our own wounds–is a risky but altogether necessary business. -Dorianne Laux