The Green Coolness and Shelter of Leaves: Poems
Heck, April Naoko
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This collection of plain-spoken, free verse poems is primarily a means of knowing and remembering two late family members. The first section is a series of poems tracing the steps of my Japanese great-grandmother, Obaasan, as a Hiroshima survivor. Through research, conversations with family, and imagination, the poems in part interweave a narrative with the process of discovering this narrative. The short, bridging second section consists of poems that deepen concerns about the body's vulnerabilities, and suggest physical experience as one way of relating. In the third section--traveling from east to west, from distant to recent past--a series of poems uncovers a childhood of both nurturance and instability, complicated by economic hardship, issues of identity, and my father's addictions and sudden passing.