Book by JANE SATTERFIELD
Throughout her impressive body of work, which includes three collections of poetry and a memoir, Jane Satterfield explores the roles of place and gender in human identity. Born in England and raised in America, she probes what it means to reconcile the legacies of intertwined lineages. Satterfield complicates her inquiry into cultural inheritance by emphasizing female experience. In her first poetry book, Shepherdess with an Automatic, she described her youthful adventures during the 1980s; “going to clubs” in “boots with zip-laces to accelerate the kill” (in contrast to1950s housewives “decked out” like “living dolls”). Her Familiars, Satterfield’s most recent collection, takes us further back in time, to the 1970s. We glimpse her as a girl scout, part of a “troop of girls kitted out in jumpers, cable knee socks, & small green berets,” living “blissful on suburban streets” while “choppers stuttered over Saigon.” Both books, as well as her second poetry collection Assignation at Vanishing Point, combine coming-of-age material with adulthood examinations of love, sex, child rearing, historical influence, and literary ambition. In Her Familiars, Satterfield widens her range of subject matter, tones, and aesthetic approaches, mining the territory between domestic and public life in striking new ways.