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Ransom Street

by Claire Millikin 2Leaf Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 152 pages
AU$37.99 NZ$39.99
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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Ransom Street is Claire Millikin's third collection of poetry with 2Leaf Press. The poems in this volume meditate on the idea of ransom to explore legacies of violence in the southeastern United States, ultimately seeking moments of reckoning for these unsettled histories. A fee paid to release a prisoner, ransom can, Millikin shows us, initiate a sacrificial act that drives people apart, but also, when paid, can bring the homeless home. The poems in Ransom Street move through the question of release elliptically, exploring these abstract implications of ransom through a fictional street in a southeastern American town. The presence of inherited violence, cultural and familial, haunt the terrain of Ransom Street, as the poems move through a geography of ghosts, always seeking "ransom," the sacrificial act that returns the self to wholeness.  

“Imagine a little girl at the beach with a third-degree sunburn. It is raining and she and has been wrapped in a wet sheet. Later she will recall that she as she walked over the dunes, the pain had rendered her ‘awake in every nerve.’ That phrase ends the opening poem in Claire Millikin’s stunning new collection, and it sounds the key notes of a book that tells in sharpened lyric moments the story of a young woman’s coming of age in the face of violence, violation, homelessness, utter alone-ness. But, as the episodes unfold, and the pain is recalled and endured, there emerges from the corner of our eyes an image of a woman who has all along been forging her own fully-realized self and the voice thereof. Keats called our suffering a ‘vale of soul-making.’ Down in that valley is where we find Ransom Street and this poetry of every wakened nerve.”

Claire Millikin is a lecturer at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.