Paper Banners (Paperback)
A herald of desire, suffering, mortality, and the mission of poetry itself, Jane Miller's Paper Banners "say the cosmos/ isn't hostile/ yet strangles a dove /with one hand." Against this angst, Miller steps outside of history to contemplate voices of love, aging, and artmaking. Many poems are addressed to family members, friends, and young poets, or pay homage to familiar figures taken by time or tragedy, including Virginia Woolf, Osip Mandelstam, and the Song Dynasty poet Li Qingzhao. In clear, short lines, these poems harken to ancient banderoles, or pennants, which announced rallying cries on the lances of knights and mottoes on the flags of ships. Here, Miller's Paper Banners are made of images of the American Southwest and scrutinize its political and physical landscape. Like skywriting streamed in white smoke, this collection bears its message on the wind, its words addressed to anyone. As Miller catalogs the intimate experiences that make up a life--friendships, loves, dreams, our human connection to the environment--Paper Banners becomes a hope that "what will survive of us is love."