Residing in the brutally harsh winters of the Wyoming landscape, Plainspeak, WY is a rumination on self as wilderness. A book of juxtapositions, Doxey leans on the glacial with its inherited dirges and ostensible timelessness, contrasting stoic rock with lamenting body. Ultimately, it is a book of recollection, of broken hearts, and slowly changing landscapes.
In Joanna Doxey’s sparkling Plainspeak, WY, human and landscape fuse in the vast horizontal aspect of the western plains: ‘I want to lie flat on a flat land and border flat sky.’ Haunting, and acutely present, Doxey’s poems pull at us like the ubiquitous Wyoming wind. Yet we are always a from and a to, a palimpsest of places and histories, present and absent, that fold space back into time. In this glacial manifold what doesn’t globally inflect? Doxey’s gift is to excavate the layering, to speak it plain and, in so doing, become a chosen place’s witness: ‘Over the train tracks I have decided to be / from / here / or to be from and to be here.’ ~ Matthew Cooperman
Haunted by the various departures—ice, star, love, lover—these poems don’t seek elegy’s repair. Nor do they seek despair. Rather, as of the glacial erratic left bewilderingly in a meadow, this voice asks how it has found itself where it is, and how to speak of those forces now gone that are the only explanation of the mystery of being. But such is Doxey’s sensitivity that even to say ‘ice,’ to say ‘snow,’ is heat enough to melt the remnant away. So it is worry turns back into care, and care opens us once again to those forces larger than the life that senses them: ‘I am done with faith but faith / is not done with me—’. ~ Dan Beachy-Quick
This is an exquisite book—eco-conscious, heart-conscious, page-conscious; an elegance of thought, art, distributed on the page. Is it magic or real life, this love of ice and land? But no—it’s about loneliness and change. […] Doxey writes the verbiage of echoes and memory: “I am really into the word sorrow. / So I have lost sight of it…” I misread “sorrow” at first and thought she wrote “snow” not sorrow—and maybe she meant that, after all, because it’s all the same to her—the wind and forest are within her, forms of being. ~ Grace Cavalieri, reviewed in Washington Independent Review of Books
Plainspeak, WY is impressive in its attention to detail and draws clear connections from matters of the earth to matters of the soul—and back again, repeatedly. […] [It is]ultimately, is about the inevitable erosion of the human heart, as mirrored by the slowly eroding landscape of the northwestern United States. […] Each unnamed poem could easily stand on its own and pack a substantial punch, but when strung together—free of the inadvertent barriers that separate titles can create—they form a lyrical narrative of monumental scale. ~ Brandon Stanwyck, reviewed in Cleaver Magazine
The poetry in this collection enacts an experience that is both temporal and spatial through the interactions between words and silence in both its themes and its aesthetic. […] Doxey asks us to consider future time, as well as the past, and inscribes the sense of loss and absence that comes with knowledge that the earth is changing, and the landscapes we thought were constant will also soon be gone. ~ Sally-Shakti Willow, reviewed in the contemporary small press
A windswept landscape of glaciers and love lost. I'm partial to anything about ice, but something about this book seems to embody ice (and its absence) so fully. The way the language crystallizes but also moves. It turns back in on itself and forms this mass. I don't know. I loved it. ~ Dennis James Sweeney, on Goodreads
# First edition, limited print run –