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We're pleased to welcome Ben Landry to our At Home with Literati Series in support of Mercies in the American Desert.
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About the collection:
Reflecting on the Salem witch trials, Puritan minister Cotton Mather cautioned his flock against the moral temptations of the unknown wild, located in what he termed an "American desert." Today, more than three hundred years later, we understand that our troubles have their origins not in some ambiguous beyond; rather, they are of our own making.
Benjamin Landry's Mercies in the American Desert attempts a clear-eyed reckoning with the people and the nation we have become: a land assailed by gun violence, police brutality, and state-sanctioned racism. This vivid collection considers a range of bodies encompassing the geographic, the personal, and the political. It locates solace in movement, sound, and observation, as when Pina Bausch heron-dances down a traffic median or when the expansive form of a surfacing manta ray teaches us how to breathe again.
Incorporating short bursts of prose poem alongside longer meditations, and working in both alliterative and narrative modes, Mercies in the American Desert conjures a redemptive wilderness for our time.