Two towns—one unnamed, one called Ruination—share an uneasy relationship with the river that separates them. Within their borders, the aftermath of a murder lingers in unexpected ways. A marriage disintegrates. A waitress dies. A flood threatens. With dark humor and a direct gaze, Battiste explores the inscrutable and the mundane, uncovering the potential for catastrophe in both. Foremost a book of sorrows, Waiting for the Wreck to Burn embrace the dislocation of grief and the absurdity of starting over.
The voices of a soldier, his wife, and his daughter interweave to tell the story of Soviet controlled, post-WWII Hungary as forces move the country toward revolution. These documentary and narrative poems expose corrupt politics, secret police, agent provocateurs, and family secrets. Extensively researched, Uprising provides a revealing glimpse into life behind the iron curtain.
How can poems map the distance between bodies or mark the boundaries separating action and desire? Ink for an Odd Cartography explores the connection between landscape, identity, and relationships. The poems travels from San Francisco to Wichita to New York City, surveying the places and spaces where children talk to gravel, stalkers give pointers, bridges are naughty, and fallen angels kill time in night clubs.
These epistolary poems play with the concepts of intimacy and privacy in the age of the internet. Battiste both assumes and invents relationships with 15 strangers based on brief Google searches. Whether hinting at shared crimes or confessing to a deep affection for bankers, the letters carve a trail through the wilderness of data to connect them all.