LETTERS TO MINNEHAHA CREEK
After her walking partner dies of cancer, Victoria Lin addresses this series of poems to Minnehaha Creek as she walks through her grief alone, seeking connection with the world around her.
Letters to Minnehaha Creek
Letters to Minnehaha Creek is a poetry collection that meanders through the passing seasons.
'Fall' takes place in the aftermath of Dorothy’s death and explores the narrator’s longing for her friend. 'Winter' highlights the narrator’s sadness and acceptance that Dorothy is truly gone. 'Spring' follows, with a lighter tone as the narrator embraces life after the loss of her friend. 'Summer' offers a sense of renewal, with poems that are letters written from the creek, rather than to it.
"Initially I avoided walking anywhere after Dorothy's death because It was painful, but eventually I embraced the grief by walking and writing my way through it."
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LETTERS TO MINNEHAHA CREEK
Victoria Lin’s Letters to Minnehaha Creek is a quiet and moving elegy to a walking partner of ten years and the cityscape they shared. Lin’s delightful compendium of the living creek’s reach into parks, gardens, alleys, and yards is a poignant tribute to the way friendship runs through us long after the friend has departed.
-- Leslie Adrienne, author of Y: Poems
“Do you notice // that I am alone? / Do you save anything? // Do you keep some / of the world in your watery // heart?” Victoria Lin asks the neighborhood creek early on, in this wise and lucid sequence of linked poems. Lin grieves the loss of her friend Dorothy, who used to walk this path with her and has recently died of cancer. For the next year, Lin continues to contemplate and remember her friend, retracing their old route alone. Yet Lin isn’t alone. She has the world, with its wood ducks and lawn ornaments, its human suffering and deep love. This is ultimately a radically affirming book. Victoria Lin is a poet of great heart and great skill.
-- Katrina Vandenberg, author of The Alphabet Not Unlike the World
We live these seasons of grief and renewal, sorrow and acceptance. We walk these paths, these streets and alleys with Victoria Lin. We are by her side when she writes her letters to Minnehaha Creek, imploring the creek to remember her friend who has died. We feel the deep longing in our narrator that the whole natural world be her confidante, her companion in sorrow. The poet writes: “I cannot have you / as you were before. Now I write / with the alphabet of grief.” This elegant, beautifully written collection of poems honors the depths of friendship, honors the good fortune of having a friend, despite the terrible loss. And Lin does not leave us adrift in grief. She sees the big world of a city, its ways of diminishing and protecting the natural world, and its people. She gives us, in language, the beautiful creek, itself on the move through its own seasons, allows us to see this world through the eyes of two friends who claimed it and revered it. This is a beautiful book.
--Deborah Keenan, Author of Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems
I thank my dear friend, Dorothy, for ten years of an extraordinary friendship, and my mentor Katrina for helping me find a way to write through my grief after Dorothy's death. I thank the staff at Unsolicted Press for their wise and thoughtful attention to these poems.
I thank my husband and children for accommodating my inability to cook without setting off the fire alarm and my difficulty with remembering rules to common games, like Uno, because I am too busy thinking about poetry.
I thank my writers' group at Solomon's Porch, comprised of those who support my work and offer endless encouragement to keep writing. I thank Brent and Renea for being the most reassuringly adept, short-notice readers to support me as I prepared to let these poems go out into the world.
I thank Lucy Comer for her amazing talent and beautiful cover work. Check out her site here: www.lucycomer.com
I thank everyone who has ever read or listened to something I have written.