Ringer approaches womanhood from two directions: an examination of ways that women’s identities are tied to domestic spaces, like homes, cars, grocery stores, and daycare centers; and a consideration of physical, sexual, and political violence against women, both historically and in the present day. Lehmann’s poems look outward, and go beyond cataloguing trespasses against women by biting back against patriarchal systems of oppression, and against perpetrators of violence against women. Many poems in Ringer are ecopoetical, functioning in a “junk” or “sad” pastoral mode, inhabiting abandoned, forgotten, and sometimes impoverished landscapes of rural America.
About the Author
Rebecca Lehmann is the author of Between the Crackups, winner of the Crashaw Prize. Her poems have been published in Tin House, The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Fence, Boston Review, and more. She lives in South Bend, Indiana, where she is an assistant professor of English at Saint Mary’s College.
Read an Excerpt
Natural History Tell me the world. Here comes light, unspoken. Light hooks a claw on the horizon, pulls itself into view. Here comes water, saline, scattering single-celled organisms. Land is a puppet. It climbs hydrothermal vents like stairs. Lava congeals. Land rises. Here comes land, hand-springing out of water. Wind is a comma, pausing the day. At night, wind kicks its legs. What about multi-celled life? What about invertebrates and vertebrates? Tell me evolution. Tell me old growth forests. Tell me a rainbow. Tell me blue-tailed skinks. Here comes science, explaining eyeballs. Look, here come the stars. Here comes a commuter train, hopping the rails and crashing into an empty sidewalk at 2:30 in the morning. Here come sparklers. Use them to trace letters of light in the darkness. Here comes someone’s childhood cat. Here comes a paper about George Washington, complete with colored pencil illustrations of his many sets of false teeth. Tell me bourgeois glass lanterns strung from a live oak. Tell me a graveyard bigger than its town. Please understand I mean no harm. Hold the phone. Here comes Tina, hand-springing across the backyard. Here comes a tent. Wind boxes its nylon sides, scaring the children, their sleeping bags unfurled and arranged like daisy petals. Tell me a flashlight.