A review of

Rimertown/An Atlas

by Laura Walker

Central question: Are memories maps?
Format: 86 pp., paperback; Size: 9" x 8"; Price: $16.95; Publisher: University of California Press; Series: New California Poetry; Series editors: Calvin Bedient, Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman; Print run: 1,000; Book design: Claudia Smelser; Typeface: Garamond; Contents of the “Gossip” section of the Rimertown, NC, homepage: “There is no Rimertown, North Carolina, gossip yet”; Best patent-era medicine used to end a prose poem that begins with bergamot: Goody’s Powder; Representative line: “land drawn and drawn again, lines laid down in pencil and ink.”

As a poet and a native of Rimertown, North Carolina, Laura Walker is uniquely poised at the intersection of two breakwaters—home as it is known, and home as it is created. Her second collection is at once, as its name suggests, a conspectus—an effort at charting the particularities of place and experience—and an interrogation of the language through which such places are known. It is an atlas of illustration, of landscapes interior and exterior, and an exploration of the lives lived there. As variegated as the landscapes it traces, Walker’s atlas consists of four forms in concert: “maps,” “stories,” vernacular prose poems, and a sparse, disjunctively reiterative narrative. These forms interact, whispering among themselves, repeating what they’ve heard, in much the same way we imagine the inhabitants of Rimertown speaking—in hushed tones and a language of their own.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Thomas Hummel

Thomas Hummel is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Point and Line to Plane. He works for the Nature Theater of Oklahoma and the Estate of Jackson Mac Low.

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