This meditation on the impact of human and ecological trauma explores the cost of survival for three generations of women living between empires. Writing from within the disappearing tallgrass prairie, Sarah Ens follows connections between the Russian Mennonite diaspora and the disrupted migratory patterns of grassland birds. Drawing on family history, eco-poetics, and the rich tradition of the Canadian long poem, Flyway migrates along pathways of geography and the heart to grapple with complexities of home.
None have rendered the wrenching of war’s dislocations with such intensity and beauty as Sarah Ens. Flyway is sorrow artfully spun into a lyric that mends as it quests, gathers, scatters, and laments. Her family’s story of the all-too-common women’s flight for survival emerges with intimacy and urgency. This book is a triumph for any time, but savour it now, as power and grace in a troubled world.—Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Shale Play Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields
Flyway charts the devastation and dislocation of war, a haunting that becomes an inheritance. Tracing migrations both inexorable and precarious, with the tall grass as her teacher, Sarah Ens creates a work of imagination wider than the horizon.
A tender and urgent re-negotiation of place, displacement, memory and war. The poems are elemental, touched by bread and metal, grass and stone.
Flyway situates itself in a biodiverse temporality where all species of home is rooted. Its address, "O / downtrodden / stray," directed to those "scrambling / for purchase / on a soft ridge / of song" is a balm so many people on the planet could use right now as they journey to be welcomed. The question that persists, that thrums beneath this poem is as simple and endangered as tallgrass: How do you remember home?