Richard Speakes

Introduction By

William Matthews

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Richard Speakes’s Hannah’s Travel is a collection of poems linked by narrative and theme and told in sequence. Set in 1851–52 between Macune, Missouri, and Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, all are told by Speakes's arresting heroine Hannah. Not only do these poems comprise one lyric poem that works as a whole; they stand on their own and behave like single entities as well. The syntax is a bit formal to our ears—this conveys both a sense of an earlier colloquial range and of the formality used by a verbal person without verbal education to match her natural talent. These poems are about the men with whom Hannah will set out on an adventure, and her stories of what they hope and fear to find.