About the Manuscript
In Jennifer van Alstyne’s collection, Altars of Nonesuch, children “play bride in little girl bodies,” on “pine pathways, burnt needles / soft moss ground.” Pastoral is pursued in the woods while a cold house in suburban Massachusetts stands secretholder to “Antique dressers held silk slips in shallow drawers, / the underpinnings of a life held together by / little white pills.” Van Alstyne imagines the Peruvian landscape of her birth family, the “hot country / where Inti lives…”
A woman in my bloodline, aqllakuna,
chosen for weaving
wills me into existence:
I am born of fire and earth.
as her mother spirals into the objects into the house, the “silver hairbrush and comb on her dresser / on a white lace runner next to a mother of pearl jewelry box / made for her mother by prisoners by hand.” This collection is an elegy to the dead, as an orphan tries to hold onto a childhood in which a brown body in the white suburban landscape escapes to green wood.
Interested in publishing this manuscript?
Altars of Nonesuch
Selected for the Glass: A Journal of Poetry 2017 Reading List