Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander's New Book, The Girls on the Roof, Published by Turning Point Press
— filed under: Creative Writing
The Girls on the Roof is a book-length narrative poem about a mother and daughter stuck on top of the roof of a cafe on the banks of the Mississippi River for three days during the 1993 flood.
Advance Praise for The Girls on the Roof:
The poems in Mary Swander’s book, The Girls on the Roof, wash over the reader as the Mighty Mississippi floods the town of Pompeii, leaving mother and daughter, Maggie and Pearl, perched on the roof of Crazy Eddy’s café. Swander has managed to invoke the power of the river for the “river rats” who cling to its shores, or float through its excesses, as well as eloquently capture the marked cadences of tall tales told by those, dead or alive, who crowd back into Crazy Eddy’s. Like the waves of the flood, the rhythm of storytelling, “lies,” and stormy preaching overlap with echoes of the Bible, Homer, the macabre humor of tales of yore. Swander’s concoction begs to be read aloud, to be performed. Maggie and Pearl’s struggles on the roof, the scenes in the café, the voices of Cur, Bigfoot Halloran, Maggie, Pearl, Mike Fink, and Crazy Eddy himself leap off the stage (and the roof), ready to engage an eager audience.
--Elaine J. Lawless, President, American Folklore Society