I am not someone who tends to be particularly taken by imagery in poetry. Most of the time I am excited by narrative, powerful connections, and precise word choice. Lee Ann Roripaugh does all of these, but she also has a very specific hand at crafting images that are as moving as they are beautiful. I was not expecting to be so empowered by her words, but I find myself in awe of her construction of story and description.
I had not heard of Lee Ann Roripaugh until I read her bio on the Douglas Anderson’s Writer’s Fest website. I was not surprised to discover someone new who I loved through Writer’s Fest—the same happened to me my freshman year for several authors (Rick Moody, Dorianne Laux, Patricia Smith, etc.). But I am not someone who typically reads poetry for fun. It is not because I don’t enjoy poetry, but because I am not driven to consume it in the way I am driven to read fiction or nonfiction. Lee Ann Roripaugh changed that for me.
Her poem, Transplanting, completely surprised me not only in its construction but in the way her images pushed me through the poem. The numbered sections were effective in the way they fit perfectly into the construction and her descriptions of her mother spoke to my own experiences (though not with the same event). I am incredibly excited to meet Lee Ann Roripaugh, but even more excited to learn from her workshop.
-Zarra Marlowe, Junior Submissions Editor