University of Alaska PRESS

Book Detail

Book Cover

160 p., 28 halftones, 6 x 9

Format: paper

Price: $17.95

2014

You Haven't Asked Me About My Wedding or What I Wore

Poems of Courtship on the American Frontier

by Harris, Jana



For thirty years poet Jana Harris researched the diaries and letters of North American pioneer women. While the names and experiences of the authors varied, Harris found one narrative often connected them: their most powerful memories were of courtships and weddings. They dreamed of having a fine wedding while they spent their lives hauling water and scrubbing floors and hoping for admirers.

Based on interviews of nineteenth-century frontier women conducted during the 1920s and ’30s, Harris uses her compelling poetry to resurrect a forgotten history. She captures the hope, anxiety, anger, and despair of these women through a variety of characters and poetic strategies, while archival photographs give faces to the names and details to the settings. Harris’s meticulous research and stirring words give these pioneer women a renewed voice that proves the timelessness of the hopes and fears of love and marriage.

Jana Harris teaches creative writing at the University of Washington and at the Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. She is editor of Switched-on Gutenberg and author, most recently, of Horses Never Lie about Love.

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