My poem “Vanishing Point” is currently available in Issue 16.1 of Harpur PalateHarpur Palate is the acclaimed national literary journal published twice each year by the English Department at Binghamton University. They print poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from all over the world. Harpur Palate is supported by the Binghamton University Creative Writing program, and run by the generous graduate and undergraduate volunteers of Binghamton University.

What Inspired This Poem About the Founding of America

As I mention in my story of how I became a poet, most of my work focuses on the landscape, history, and culture of the American West. For the past several years, I have been living in the first place I might actually stay in since I left rural Nevada at the age of 22, however: North Carolina.

I have found a lot of parallels between the two regions, but have also immersed myself in the culture and history of one of the original 13 colonies. Whereas my home state remained a territory until 1864, North Carolina boasts a history that stretches back to the time before North America was a sovereign nation.

“Vanishing Point” is my attempt to understand this long and complex history through the lens of a cultural outsider. I didn’t set out to write a poem about the founding of America, but it is difficult to ignore this history or North Carolina’s place in it. What starts out as a poem about a curious regional custom–the creation of “native gardens,” or backyards that are landscaped to feature only plants native to the area–starts to broaden quickly into a wider view of the intersections of place, history, and colonization in the American South.

The Opening Lines of “Vanishing Point”

Alongside a garage in the coastal plain:
native gardens. Locals restore
wildflowers, turn toward the sun
when truck farmers wander
in their backyards.

Read the Whole Poem

Plus a host of other great poetry in issue 16.1 of Harpur Palate, available here:

Pssst… My First Chapbook of Poems