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Five  Generations

© Elsa Braekkan Payne, 2021

The immediate catalyst for this poetry sequence was a rediscovered collection of photographic slides from the 1950s-60s, which provided triggers for bringing together themes of exile, gender and aging through a writerly process initially informed by my memory of things familial and everyday.  The voice I sought to coax back from the past is that of my maternal grandmother, representing the first of five generations of women navigating between adopted and inherited identities.  The timely birth of a Norwegian granddaughter in 2020 broadened my cross-cultural focus in unexpected ways, by conjuring an additional, mythical voice, and inspiring experiments with poetic forms: Tanka, Sonnets and Alliterative Verse (in the Old Norse tradition).    

If you are on a phone this is best viewed in landscape

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