The Southeast Review interviews Michele Battiste, a poet whose work frequently makes use of map themes and imagery.
Place is one of those big ideas I can’t fully grasp, so I won’t try to explain. I like maps because they are instructional and representative. They prepare us for what we’ll find and they guide us there, but no matter how well-constructed a map is, people still get lost. You see it all over NYC, people wandering around with map in hand, completely disoriented. I’m the same way. A map will lend me false confidence that I’m headed in the right direction only to realize that I’ve read it wrong and am completely off course. So I love both the absoluteness of a map and the meaninglessness of that absoluteness because of the fallibility of the map-reader. (Say that ten times fast.)
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