Susan Marie Swanson

Susan Marie Swanson lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. A long poem of hers appears in a recent issue of Primavera.

Working Notes, Susan Marie Swanson:

Working with children in school, I asked them to write names for seasons in their lives, and I gave to them examples from the work of Battiste Good, one of the Dakota people. His traditional winter count records the life of a community ("Many-women-died-in-childbirth winter," "Smallpox-used-them-up-again winter"). As I read what the kids wrote, I reflected on the lack of shared memory in many of our lives.

I wanted my own poem to be like a flag or woven scarf with a torn, ragged edge. Along the frayed edge, the fabric could be part of the wind that blows over other women, other families, and over the whole world. Work with children helped me to make a cloth of memory--and to hold it up in the wind.

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