"A brilliant book of bearing witness to the environmental catastrophes of our times. Fearless and unflinching, this book demands our attention."
—Nicole Cooley, author of Breach
Glass Needles & Goose Quills: Elementary Lessons in Atomic Properties, Nuclear Families, & Radical Poetics, considers nuclearism’s place in the poetic canon by surveying its physical and spiritual toll on health and language. Braiding research, memoir, and poetry, the book serves as a companion to the author’s poetry collection Two Faint Lines in the Violet as well as a primer for the poetics of social engagement.
After the death of the author’s father from complications of cancer, she discovers that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health had conducted an epidemiological study of the area where he lived—the Deerfield River Valley—also home to Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station. The study found statistically significant elevations in breast cancer, Down Syndrome, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the type of cancer her father had, manifesting as a brain tumor.
Caring for her father from diagnosis through death, the author learns that her father's closest neighbor had a brain tumor, too. Growing suspicious about the proximity of the power plant and its accompanying possible health effects, she unearths evidence of numerous incidents and accidents at a plant with a storied and historic past.
A braided essay punctuated by poems, the fragmentation and vacillation of Glass Needles & Goose Quills’ several storylines complicate and intensify its narrative thrust, revealing intersections in the literary, scientific, and medical arts.
Yankee Rowe Linocut: Stephen MacLellan