Today's poem is "River Town"
from Steam Laundry

Boreal Books

Nicole Stellon O'Donnell was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side. She earned a BA in Philosophy and Literary Studies from Beloit College. She worked as a programming intern at The Loft in Minneapolis before moving to Alaska, where she earned her MFA from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Women’s Review of Books, Ice Floe, Cirque, and other literary journals. Her essays about berry picking and dipnetting have appeared in the Anchorage Daily News, and she has written commentaries for the Alaska Public Radio Network on a range of topics, including fashion, a family murder story, and whether or not the World Series is an emergency worthy of a last-minute flight from Alaska.

Books by Nicole Stellon O'Donnell:

Nicole Stellon O'Donnell's Website.

About Steam Laundry:

"This collection of poems about those who came to the Yukon and Alaska over a century ago in search of gold and a better life is a compelling read. I could feel the bitter cold of the landscape and the desires and passions of the characters as I read poem after poem unable to put the book down until I reached the end. This is a book that deserves to be read."
—Tom Sexton

"Steam Laundry is a great story, poems that work research into narrative art. These are the stories of the earth, broken for gold, and the women whose work doing laundry made possible difficult but ambitious lives. One family goes in search of gold. We readers find gold here in this brilliant book that won’t be put down!"
—Hilda Raz

"In O’Donnell’s narrative of familial and social history, we experience Alaska—its financial and romantic allure— and the gender disparities that defined frontier reality in the early 20th century. Readers meet Sarah Ellen Gibson, her marriage “so new/I could hold it in my palm /like an egg still warm/ from the henhouse.” We learn that “where men prospect, women wash” and witness Gibson’s struggle to “wring /our living out of this frozen dirt.” O’Donnell’s research yields unsparing details that vivify daily life in the Yukon Territory; she honors women who build laundries and roadhouses, making a place for themselves under unrelenting emotional and physical conditions. This book-length sequence will hold you in its spell."
—Robin Becker

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