The Radiant City by Sandra Florence is the first book-length collection of poems by a poet who has been writing for over forty years, and although the poems do not themselves span that entire time, one piece, "Nettles", was begun over thirty years ago and serves as a centering piece for the first two-thirds of the book. "Nettles" is a long narrative poem that contains many of the themes that emerge in the later poems that are magnified and focused upon, the premise being that family relationships, friendship, and landscape (here it is the San Joaquin Valley of California) are not only formative to one's sense of self and place in the world but also sustaining to one's imaginative growth. The mother in "Nettles" becomes the mother in "Tomorrow Land" whose "skirt becomes a high wide-wave pulling her children to her." The father in "Nettles" becomes the father in "Yellow Cotton Shirt" "whose sleeves flutter like cloth birds." The title poem, "The Radiant City", is the imagined landscape of the after life where a mother and grandmother wander through varying locations, city streets, sometimes the wide-open plains, searching for their lost place in the world, as the objects and people of that world float and whirl around them, "like glitter after a parade," like "jitterbugging dust devils." The later poems find their location in a desert city, where "water is a consolation" and Narcissus admires himself by a swimming pool. These poems are stories: slices of life at times whimsical and dreamy, at other times elegiac and reverent.
|Publisher:||Jumping Cholla Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.31(d)|
About the Author
Sandra Florence received her Masters in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and has been writing and teaching in Tucson, Arizona for the last thirty-three years. She taught at the University of Arizona for 18 ½ years and in a number of community education settings working with refugees, the homeless, adolescent parents, women in recovery and juveniles at risk. She is the recipient of a NEH grant under the initiative, The National Conversation on American Pluralism and Identity, and through the grant ran a community writing project for 2 ½ years. She has published scholarly articles on writing and healing and writing as a tool for public dialogue. She currently teaches writing and literature at Pima Community College. This is her first book-length collection of poetry.