Athena’s new book of poems grew out of research she did–thanks to grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Lake Region Arts Council–in the Gale Research Library, located in the Minnesota History Center. Primary sources such as school year books, diaries, letters written in response to government queries, county records and more, combined with research into the history of prairie settlement, the prairie ecosystem, and changes to agriculture, contributed to the poems in the book. Some of the poems, all called “Prairie Daughter,” imagine the voices of 16- or 17-year old daughters from 1836 to 2036. Others question the way in which we understand an ecosystem that is mostly disappeared. Still others sing out to that ecosystem and the variety of flora and fauna that lived there. The book is an elegy, a mea culpa, and a call to preserve what little remains.

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