Seattle Academy English Faculty Edelman Poem Published Online
Below Rachel shares more about her writing process and what inspired her most recent poem. I grew up canoeing the tributaries of the Mississippi River near Memphis, so the imagery of flowing water and the slow, methodical rhythm of paddling along a current is very evocative for me. In college, I happened into a geology major (in addition to English) because I loved learning to read landscapes like poetic lines. Like many of my poems, “Passage” pulls images from across my personal archive to reckon with humans’ precarious existence on earth.
I wrote “Passage” in late December of 2019. After spending a week hammering away at a different, failed, poem, I was sifting through a stack of books rereading favorite poems. My mind got caught on “Night Repairs” by Molly Spencer, from her book If the House. I read it over and over and over. When the line “Long canoe of the womb” popped into my head, I felt afraid to write it down, but I picked up my pen and did it anyway. The whole poem appeared, almost fully formed, which rarely happens for me--I tend to spend months or years writing and revising before I arrive at a poem’s final state.
Publication happened remarkably quickly, too--again, I’m used to spending months or years sending a poem out to journals, receiving rejection after rejection. In this case, I saw that Wildness, an online journal I admire, had a call for submissions for an eco folio. I put together a packet and sent it in. Now that it’s out in the world, I hope that its sense of longing resonates with the ache of uncertainty that readers are feeling right now.