“What can we do but seek nectar where it blooms,” whispers the porous and questioning speaker of In the Hands of the River. With delicate precision, In the Hands of the River subverts traditional poetic forms to show how a childhood for a queer boy of both Cherokee and European heritage happens within and outside dominant narratives of Appalachia.
This debut collection weaves ancestral and personal threads of trauma, reclamation, and survival into a multi-generational and multi-species tapestry that reaches from the distant stars visible in an Appalachian holler to the curl of a clover stem and the touch of the beloved, here and now. Moving across time, yet always grounded in place, these poems address the West Virginian landscape, both in exaltation and extraction, balanced with poems about the speaker's own body, and emergent sense of queer identity, as “a boy made of shards.”
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