"After the Dome Fire" by Ruth Nolan
In After the Dome Fire, author Ruth Nolan takes readers on an eco-poetic journey through the wilderness of California's Mojave Desert and Southern California, and the work of firefighting and raising a daughter as a single parent in a rough yet nurturing landscape. The poems also evoke a fierce and beautiful "desert" revealed as a vibrant character with its own agency to survive and regenerate from the devastating impacts of wildfires, and remind us all of the power of our desert environment to inspire and regenerate the human spirit.
Ruth Nolan’s After the Dome Fire disrupts the flow of desert clichés, presenting a vision of life in the Mojave that is remarkably tender, yet unafraid. Embracing a region of “jagged landscape lacking trails,” a region where, it has been said, “no woman should go,” Nolan’s poems replace the romanticized, masculinized fantasy-image of the Mojave with stories, histories, and images that reflect maternal and indigenous wisdom stripped bare of sentimentalizing language.
By attending to the experiences of being female, out-of-place, or displaced, After the Dome Fire opens up a space from which to reflect upon the meaning of mothering in the desert. Since it is the atypical and the unlikely that animate Nolan’s poetics, desert mothering turns out to include shovels, chainsaws, and “a jeep in four-wheel drive.”
From Apple Valley to Death Valley (the “unfortunate” name white settlers gave to the Timbisha Shoshone homeland) to the backroad that links the high desert to alpine forests, these poems reject pretty metaphors, opting instead for a directness capable of disclosing the real violence that has always attended the romance of the American West. After the Dome Fire is a remarkable book that places resistance and tenderness on equal footing.
- Company: Bamboo Dart Press
- Release Date: September 5, 2022
- Availability: Preorder