Photo by Kerry Carty
Compact Disc with Book
The companion CD to The Forest of Sure Things, featuring music by The Press Gang.
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?
Advance praise for Snyder-Camp’s first book:
Megan Snyder-Camp’s poems seem to emerge from the deep well of our common experiences. Years of attention were required to call into being this Forest of Sure Things. That we feel her world as our own is the poet’s gift to us, given over with wonder. In this book we find the authenticity and care we too often forget we need from poems, inflected with its own version of grace.
—Carol Ann Davis, judge for the Tupelo Press / Crazyhorse Award
Megan Snyder-Camp’s poems, like mosaics, are built of curious and gem-like pieces: stand close and they’re entrancing; take a few steps back and they reveal a sweeping, vaster movement of mind. With a quiet magical realism and audible adoration of language, Snyder-Camp builds an intensely personal yet clearly narrative frame. With a documentarian’s eye (and a wonderfully inventive, graceful sense of form), she gazes at our deepest fears and embraces the insistent beauty of the new.