THE BODY REMEMBERS; the road remembers—everything reminds us of everything. Two Open Doors in a Field (2023), Sophie Klahr's captivating second collection of poems, serves as a travelogue of the heart and mind, with each poem offering a postcard or snapshot of memories evoked by absence, presence, and emptiness. “Between 2015 and 2018,” Klahr's endnote explains, she embarked on a solitary journey, driving “approximately 14,452 miles on a variety of loops between Nebraska and California” in her trusty vehicle named Crystal. Drawing on the rich tradition of American road literature, this collection echoes the spirit of adventure and introspection found in the iconic works of Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) and Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1975). Although she wrote a first draft of this book on the road, Klahr's journey is as emotional as it is physical. Two Open Doors in a Field is a profoundly personal odyssey through the landscape of memory and emotion, exploring the connections that bind us to places, people, and our past selves. I had the pleasure of working with Klahr to edit my first manuscript, The Morning the Birds Died . Her meticulous and inventive approach to the editing process shaped my own work and gave me a deeper appreciation of the rigorous attention to detail in her own collection. These inventive sonnets challenge convention while honoring the subtleties of the form, dancing along the edges of tradition to complicate the classic romantic narrative. In a fascinating opening poem, “Driving Through Nebraska, Listening to the Radio,” Klahr presents surreal and ephemeral moments of desire against Nebraska's rolling hills: […] That old dream again: the dream again of the house that isn't. Why don't you admit , you said, that all roads lead to Nebraska . In the time we spent together, somewhere, a few languages died. When you said It will always be un- even between us , I heard a new word for a field impossible to measure. The poem moves between physical sensation and the abstract concept of emotional distance. There […]
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