[09/26/2021] Under the Broom Tree by Natalie Homer
Autumn House Press, paperback
Publication Date: September 26, 2021
Publisher Marketing: Poems that explore the wilderness in order to find rest and divine providence.
In the story of the prophet Elijah, he must flee his home, and, after an arduous journey, he arrives under a broom tree, where he prays for his own death. But in his sleep, he is touched by an angel who provides food and water. In this moment, the broom tree becomes a symbol for shelter in a barren landscape, a portent of hope and renewal.
Drawing inspiration from this tale, Natalie Homer's debut poetry collection is a trek through the wildernesses of the heart and of the natural world. Exploring the idea of divine providence, Homer finds seams of light opening between forlorn moments and locates, "Something to run a finger through, / something to shine in the ocher light." Within these narrow spaces, Homer explores themes of longing, home, family, and self-worth amidst the wondrous backdrop of the American West and the Rust Belt, while integrating a rich mythology of narrative, image, and association. The broom tree, offering the capacity for shade and respite, becomes a source of connection and an inspiration for the collection. It is an invitation to sink deep into the earth and self and feel the roots entwine.