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Squall Publishing Press Release, Seattle, WA – O Dear Deer, by Linda Dove reimagines the poet’s experience as a juror in a Los Angeles courtroom to create a haunting, primeval theater in which what-is and what-might-have-been clash and veer off like dueling branches of the same trail. “In choosing, we kill chances,” Dove writes in “Peremptory Challenge,” an early poem in the collection; later in “Challenge for Cause” she asks her readers to consider how “At a crossroads,/ bodies and space/ collude, fanciful,/ lousy with branches.” Dove’s collection is a sometimes stark, sometimes whimsical, examination of the judgments that bind and crack lived experience.
O Dear Deer, was selected for the first annual Eudaimonia Chapbook prize by Evan J. Peterson. Peterson selected the manuscript from more than one hundred entries for its “hypnotic landscape of image rhyme that is better than surreal…The branches, the antlers, the cracks, the river, the letters all become refrains of a chant she’s circling around the reader.” Jen Tynes, author of The End of Rude Handles (Red Morning Press), reads in Dove’s collection “a deep and bare subversion of Frost’s ‘two roads’; these poems explore how we open ourselves to the offspring and the aftermath of all our movements and breaks.”
Reaching trees, velveted antlers, forks in the road, “bone bushes,” and “baroque kindling”: branches are Linda Dove’s extended metaphor for choice and fate in this impressive collection. Out of the experience of serving as a juror in a Los Angeles murder trial, Dove creates an urban crime scene viewed as a forest that is beautiful and menacing, haunting and haunted, illuminating and withholding. These extraordinary poems remind us how time edges out our options, how the possible becomes the inevitable, how the irreconcilable self longs to retrace its steps, but cannot: “In choosing, we kill chances.” Intricately and clearly, Dove shows that we are all perpetrator, victim, juror, down the different tributaries of the same river; that decision leads to decision till we find, “at the end of each branch, a terminal bud.” —Laura Cherry, author of Haunts (Cooper Dillon Books)
A deep and bare subversion of Frost’s “two roads,” these poems explore—through both language and line—what develops beyond the decision-making moment, how we open ourselves to the offspring and aftermath of all our movements and breaks. To “speak in the plural,” in O Dear Deer, is to conjure not only the living but the blowback, to understand that “the narrative line,” to truly satisfy, must draw the fire and ricochet between them. —Jen Tynes, author of The End of Rude Handles (Red Morning Press) and Heron / Girlfriend (Coconut Books)