Separate Escapes

Inter-connected poems that explore the resonance of the poet’s inner and outer worlds, many of which were set in the nuclear-testing-Cold-War-scarred deserts of Nevada and Utah in the 1950s. This was a time of our national dream gone awry, economic deprivation, dead-end jobs and domestic abuse. Hales takes the bitter snapshots of her youth and uses them to plumb the conflicts between memory and imagination, between events and their implications. Together they form a strand of imagined meanings Hales weaves together. She blends threads of pain and misery, anger and acceptance, wonder, endurance and desire into ambitious poems of straightforward clarity. They are like handfuls of frozen bees that suddenly awake and sting you with the recognition that going back is the first step to going on.