Tramp: On Poetry, Women, and Wanderers

When I first started writing what would become Tramp , I had no idea what it would grow into. Playing with late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century newspaper articles about women who blew into and out of towns, sometimes on foot, sometimes by rail, was just a way to explore a subject I found compelling, women trying to break through social norms so they could determine their own lives. I typed passages from interviews, cut them apart, and laid them on the kitchen table in an effort to understand who these women were and what they had to do with me. Looking back, I think I was trying to find a new way into poetry, something more three-dimensional than the page, something that could capture the swift thrill and violence of experience. In the simplest terms, Tramp started with my reading Trea Martyn’s Queen Elizabeth in the Garden, a tour of the gold-dusted landscapes that were designed to curry her favor during her annual progress. Reading about her travels, I began to wonder about the people who were cleared from her path, the poor who were not to be seen, and came across a 1753 reprint of a book with […]

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