Through the poems in The Dream Women Called, Lori Wilson attends to the spirits of depression, uncertainty, and fear while wondering at the beauty in what’s broken, the remarkable in the ordinary, and the balm that the natural world can offer. Following a single speaker, we’re reminded how many lives one woman can live.
This book is about crossing into a new version of your own story—after a marriage ends, the parents die, the children are grown, or the faith is discarded—and finding a place to stand, a new way to take up space in the world. Uniting past and present, these poems create multifaceted portraits, particularly of relationships between mothers and daughters. Wilson’s poems sift through memory, dreams, art, imagination, nature, and close observation, turning each discovery over in order to see it fully. Beneath the fine-grained imagery of these lyric excavations are the sometimes opposing but fundamental desires to be whole and to be seen, which often means looking within as well as turning toward the world outside. The speaker is listening always for the dream women who call, for whatever may beckon from the present and future, preparing her in some way for a life that’s truly hers.
About the Author
Lori Wilson is the author of House Where a Woman, also from Autumn House Press. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Southern Poetry Review, Salamander, the Laurel Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Cimarron Review; and in various anthologies including The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop. She lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, where she works as a software developer.
“‘I’d like to hold something that’s breathing,’ says Wilson in The Dream Women Called. This voice calling out in desire returns, recedes, and returns in this marvelous book of wanting more. Imagine a world pulsating with the skin’s craving, inflamed with red, yet narrated with clear, slicing detail—Wilson delivers us to that world where the speaker has a desire for desire. . . . Wilson guides us to the fields, through the native grasses, past the trainyards to the long tunnel—where the dream women live, where the ripping and healing happens. An amazing book!” — Jan Beatty, author of The Body Wars
“In Wilson’s stunning new collection, the poet demands of herself a deep honesty few have the courage and humility to explore. Flashes of observant detail ground these poems in the facts of a woman’s life, familiar yet utterly new. There is no strain or trickery. What the poet sees is lit from within, in encounters that cut straight to the core of emotional truth. Wilson’s unadorned language and unexpected angle of vision place her in the lineage of Dickinson, that acute observer of her own psychology. These are poems I’ve been thirsting for. It's a joy to drink deep.” — Joan Larkin, author of My Body
“Wilson’s poems deftly navigate opposing forces. Taut, yet compassionate, understated yet full of longing, Wilson balances a desire to know and be in the world, with a desire to know ‘the well’ inside. ‘I had no center’ she writes, but this work creates a center that is powerful and moving, even when tentative—especially when tentative. It is this tension that makes these poems so human. Walking out of the confines of the past, Wilson puts her unsteady feet to the earth and walks forward. She knows the dangers of being seen—she tells the truth anyway.” — Anne Marie Macari, author of Heaven Beneath