Friday, August 15, 2008


Few writers have been as important to us as Yedda Morrison, so it is a sincere pleasure to announce the publication of her new book-length work, girl scout nation. Picking up where Crop (Kelsey Street Press, 2003) left off, girl scout nation is a complex meditation on language and landscape, the feminine and the image, Iraq and Laura Bush. In short, it is writing about that which is most urgent and a work that clears a new present. But don't take our word for it:

"My overwhelming sense in reading girl scout nation is one of gratitude, as one is grateful perhaps for an earth to "go up and down in," however difficult may be the terrain. One sees here not as a colonist mapping the landscape as an alien quantity, but as a participant in the rhythms and forms of an ecology:

the human eye

a striated leaf

In girl scout nation, I am grateful that the desert West, the California North Coast, and the Sierra it proposes are actual, and exceed their roles in allegory. I am grateful that it goes some way toward uttering a public language of responsibility, in which, among other talismanic words, we find "Abu Ghraib" written in the cells of the American body and across the vistas of the American landscape. I am grateful for the hand and eye and leaf in "Survivor North Coast (Shelter Cove)," a beautiful and true and (in this book's context) exceptionally hard-won new approach to the nature poem. I am grateful that it teaches this transplant to the West the names of birds and bushes, while not neglecting the names for industrial chemicals, bombs, and new, possibly unofficial body parts. I am grateful that it knows I was once a girl, even when I was a boy.

I am grateful that it ends by inviting me-and us, as readers-to get lost. Again."

--Taylor Brady

"It is a rare book that makes us constantly ask how the author achieved such beauty, complexity, clarity. girl scout nation is one of those, its wide lines barreling across the landscape of the page, covering amazing swaths of time, myth, devastation, sensuality, in gorgeous pointed material utterances; or suddenly pulling the reader up in short musical stops, botanical lists, girl scout ditties, surveillance techniques. There is rage, here, the body where it meets the staggering earth, contained in the tiny catapulting figure of Scout, herself contained by the entire rage of the planet; and this rage is the more effective for being “the deep glowing red inside the barrel,” for being nowhere and everywhere, for being a girl, just a girl there/daddy. Both primal and urbane, girl scout nation is rich hard realism on its way to Disney upside down. After Crop, Yedda Morrison has done it again: I love this book."

--Gail Scott