In this collection, Julie Fay uses narrative poetry to paint meaningful scenes lifted from history and personal experience to create a work that examines the lives of American women. The first section, entitled “Burlington Homestead,” describes an American family’s struggle to make a place for themselves in nineteenth-century southern Iowa, faced with the challenges of both the physical world and the inner world of personal desire. Part Two, “Sarah’s Story,” is about a young woman’s need to leave her marriage in order to discover herself and her art. Both sections analyze a woman’s role in time and place. Marilyn Hacker states in the introduction that this collection is “...all the more remarkable considering the range of places [the] book traverses: grasshoppers overwhelming a field of squash blossoms, wild azaleas blooming along a mountain streambed, the lunar landscape of a limestone col. Strongest of all, perhaps, is her more intimate range: the evocation of those gestures that define and preserve our humanity...”
Fay, Julie, "Portraits of Women" (1991). Ahsahta Press. 24.