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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. A pair of newlywed drifters has arrived and settled there, starting the town’s first new family in a hundred years. When their second child is stillborn, the bereft family unravels and un-roots themselves. Megan Snyder-Camp’s poems reveal — like the shoreline exposed by a neap tide — an emotional landscape pressed upon and buckling under the complications of grief and the difficulties of language.
With hypnotic, incantatory phrasing and imagery and an innovative approach to chronology, Snyder-Camp tells the story of the 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.
Based in part upon a brief, true story she was told, Snyder-Camp’s mysterious yet uncommonly compelling poetic sequence will draw the reader as if along a current pulling through the book. Acknowledging the importance of Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Snyder-Camp has spoken of her fascination with where language frays, as we try and use “story” to create what we remember and see where we are. What happens in a place, or a family, or a body, when time catches, or stops?