Subjective Geography: A Poet’s Thoughts on Life and Craft
This volume presents, in one piece, much of the careful and nuanced thought of one of the finest American poets of the twentieth century, and beyond: she died at the age of ninety-five in 2015. Severe, funny, mischievous, and astoundingly clear, these essays present her thinking on topics ranging from John Berryman’s ghost, to prayer, to the stages of vision and revision, to poetry as a radical act, to the essential necessity of faith. It is indeed a geography and it brings to life DeFrees’ singular and deeply affectionate sensibility.
“What has been said of her poetry is equally true of her prose: each piece ‘is a demonstration of the principles by which DeFrees has lived her life, and we get the feeling that she is giving her life completely to each one…Like Dickinson, like the saints whose lives were personal expressions of divine energy, DeFrees is acutely aware of her mortality, but what we experience above all here is a fierce celebration of life in all its difficulty.’”
—Carolyne Wright, Prairie Schooner