Acre’s Holiday Sampler, Part 1

It’s been quite an inaugural year for Acre. We’ve put into the world six terrific books—two poetry volumes, two story collections, and two novels—three of them debut titles from brilliant new voices.

For your holiday reading pleasure, we’ve asked our 2018 authors to choose a favorite poem or passage from their Acre offerings and write a bit about what that selection means to them.

First up, Hannah Dow, whose lyrics, according to Danielle Deulen “pulse with the particular . . . showing how place shapes us, how the mind cannot escape the body.” We proudly released her debut collection, Rosarium, last month.

Hannah Dow

Hannah Dow on “Laws of Living: In the past decade, I have moved from where I grew up in New Hampshire, to Pennsylvania, then to California, Mississippi, and back to California. For me, this poem is about the way my life, or the “laws of living,” have taken me far away from family and familiarity. There are many things I’ve loved about each of the places I’ve lived, but I carry the small pang of homesickness every day. I wrote this poem as a small reminder that I can still love from afar, can still search for a way home.


After Spencer Reece

I seal my windows to keep

pests away. Nearby, houses seem

to birth cats, and churches try breathing


assurance into the neighborhood’s

decay. High above the emigrant

palm trees, birds navigate a city


of their own. I look at them and feel

the occasional delight I did as a child

while flying in airplanes, my mother


beside me, each of us reading

while the laws of inertia allowed

us to travel at great speeds


without moving our bodies,

without pages turning themselves.

The laws of living bring us to places


we do not plan to go. Places where

flowers bloom all times of year,

where everything closes on Sunday or else


for good. Here, we are promised

Jesus and tomatoes coming soon, promised

a change in season with every vibration


of wings. So when the fig tree disappears from

my yard, the cicadas go with it, but the birds

go on baptizing themselves in their baths.


My father baptized me. My father taught me

to ride a bike. Our first time out on the road

he asked what I should listen for.


Birds, I said, and while he corrected me

gently—such is his way—I have never since

forgotten every given thing I can’t control.


Mother, Father, I am trying to make my way

to you, but I have found no laws proving

the logic of a body that journeys without wings.

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