The poems in Rock Candy reflect a passage from a western Washington state logging camp to university life and a reflection on the meaning of what has been and what is to come.
Some of the family poems are full of the violence and compulsion of life in an ingrown community where rules of behavior are created on the spot, but they also reflect the humor and insight necessary for survival.
A long poem, “Elegy for Chastity,” recites in tragic mode the life and death of a teenage friend at the hands of a husband brutalized by poverty, alcohol and prison. Later poems reflect coming to terms with sexual trauma, travel to Morocco and the lessons it brings, the death of a university friend from cancer—narratives of a life in constant change, now with the smell of victory fast approaching.
This first book of poems was selected for reading on Prairie Home Companion one week after publication.
“ ‘Elegy for Chastity’ is a magnificent poem, rant, acknowledgement of a life society can’t/won’t acknowledge, even in death… The last line still rings in my ears.” –Margaret Randall