Meaning to Go to the Origin in Some Way cover

Linda Russo

Shearsman Books: 2015

Linda Russo translates the environmental characteristics of the Palouse from scenery to words in this slender volume of her poetry. The cohabitation between humans and nature is explored everywhere from a home garden to the vast wheat fields. Her other poems delve into post-pastoral themes of consumer development on farmable land:

shopping centers and cheap food production

the song of arable, or dams, of more

natives squeezed out in

the production of more

arable land.

from “Going to Survey Walmart Construction from the Crest of Pioneer Hill”

Meaning to Go to the Origin in Some Way encapsulates the expansive Palouse by detailing the smallest of organisms up to the “electric currents” of the sky. Russo addresses the friction between people and their surrounding environment. In this, her second full-length collection of poems, she brings the Palouse alive and makes the rolling wheat fields feel like home:

I do not live here because I want to, but because

being free is a kind of sympathy.

from “City and Country Life”

Russo writes with distinct fluidity while creating strong visuals out of small details. Even a simple wild rabbit can seem familiar to the reader.

In addition to writing poetry, Russo teaches creative writing and literature at Washington State University. Her forthcoming collection of lyrical essays, To Think of Her Writing Awash in Light, was selected as the winner of the Subito Press inaugural creative nonfiction prize. She also has another volume of poetry, The Enhanced Immediacy of the Everyday, coming out this year.