[10/12/2021] My Wilderness by Maxine Scates
University of Pittsburgh Press, paperback
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Publisher Marketing: The poems of My Wilderness often take place on the wooded hillside in Oregon where Maxine Scates has lived since the mid-1970s. As they engage the decline of her aging mother, the psychic storms of these poems also face her partner's threatening illness, then recovery, the death of her closest friend, and eventually, the death, at age one hundred, of her mother, an indomitable figure who led Scates through a working class childhood in Los Angeles fraught with domestic violence. As well, these poems chronicle how the woods, which were once a refuge, have turned into a landscape of change where trees once numerous are now threatened by storm and climate change and the presence of the humans who live among them. Grounded in the shifting borders of migrations and extinctions plant, animal and human, of memory, grief and ultimately acceptance, My Wilderness inevitably asks us to consider not only our own mortality but also our impact on the world around us.