CONGRATULATIONS TO GEORGIA SANTA MARIA – RECIPIENT of the 3rd LUMMOX POETRY PRIZE…This book is part of the prize.
I was introduced to dowsing by a neighbor in the 1970’s in Miami, New Mexico. It is the ancient art of finding water underground by using two sticks, either green twigs or pieces of wire. In the book, I introduce him in the poem “Dowser”. I watched him use both green elm and unbent coat-hangars. He held them out straight in front of him, and when he was over water, the sticks crossed and bent downward. A person with this skill is called a “water-witch”. My friend had “dowsed” most of the wells in our community over his seventy odd years of living there. He taught me to do it as well, and I can’t explain it, but the sticks turned in my hands spontaneously over the same places they did for him, and I could feel the tug.
Dowsing also works with electrical fields. The sticks will also cross under power lines or over underground water or power lines. Interestingly, my son, who was in Explosive Ordinance Detail in the Army, and was tasked with removing unexploded bombs, mines and other devices, often underground, said that he used dowsing to locate the devices in order to disable them. The dowsing rods were sensitive to the metal and electrical parts in the devices.
Using dowsing as a metaphor for how poetry comes to be written led me to the title of the book. Finding a poem is much like finding water underground: you never quite know where it will come from or where it may take you, but writing is an act of faith, much like turning your will over to a pair of green twigs.
Georgia Santa Maria
ABOUT THE BOOK
Georgia Santa Maria’s poems have a liveliness and earthiness one can only wish that more poems had. Her poems are inquisitive, curious about the world and its variety, and they express a mature but undiminished wonder for even human nature. Social critique is also one of her strengths— serious but never heavy handed. In her poem called “Women on the Money,” for example, Santa Maria asks
“And, while you might trust Rosa Parks,
to clean your house,
or raise your children,
why put her on the money, when
we didn’t even want to pay her, much—
why do you think she was
riding the bus, anyway?”
We need more poems like this one called “The Vegan Feminist Dilemma,” more poems that ask “Should I eat, or just become a vegan tart?” They make us laugh, and think, and feel a little more at home on the earth, which is something we need. Good poetry actually can make that happen. —Tony Hoagland
Read a sampling from Dowsing here.
44 PAGES – $12
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