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An American Map

Essays by Anne-Marie Oomen

Publication Year: 2010

Meditative travel essays by Michigan author Anne-Marie Oomen that explore new landscapes across America.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xiii

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Warming the Flue: The Think House, Empire, Michigan

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pp. 1-4

Tucked as it is in a Michigan woods thick with tall maple and sh, the Think House eddies with chill in winter, and remains too-cool and shaded in the summer. ...

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Stone Wounds: Mount Cardigan, New Hampshire

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pp. 5-15

When I break the tree line and look up to the crest, I am suddenly dizzy. I stop, resting against the slabs of granite that grace New Hampshire’s Mount Cardigan. That is when I notice the quartz for the first time. The dark granite runs with veins of lighter quartz, long lines crossing and crisscrossing this rock like a child’s script,...

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Wild Poem: Mount Rainier, Washington

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pp. 16-24

I was raised in what’s called “low country,” country that is ing wetlands, flatland fields, the perfect horizon of the Great that, bowl-like, filled by gravity with freshwater sweetness that draws the eye across distances, but not up. Low country. ...

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Finding Cochise: Cochise Stronghold, Arizona

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pp. 25-38

I should go back. I am way too deep into these mountains, and I am a stranger to them, and I am off trail. But the rock of the Dragoons has the scent of dust and spirit that I am drawn to like arrow to prey, that sunset scent of destiny or accident—I’m not sure which. ...

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The Underpass: Washington DC

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pp. 39-48

In that long-past January, the month we inaugurate presidents, I had forgotten my socks. It was 1973. I stood, chilled and tired, in the proverbial shadow of the Washington Monument with my boyfriend, Vern, and a crowd of other long-haired, bearded, and bedraggled protesters, ...

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Where Angels Are: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

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pp. 49-64

On the eve of the second war in Iraq, David and I take a vacation. It is not a thing we would have planned; the two things simply happen simultaneously, in March of 2003, the onset of the war and our spring break from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. ...

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The Blue Bead: El Yunque, Puerto Rico

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pp. 65-85

Where is that light we once heard tell of? In early March, the hills of Leelanau County feel like dark closets, full of some bearish fear. Where my small home perches on the edge of a ravine, the woods and slopes are empty but for the crust of old snow, still two feet deep. Even the deer have moved to the swamps. ...

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Edge of Possibility: Santa Monica, California

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pp. 86-98

It is the second year of the war. He sits on the plank steps, his face covered with sweat, and he is bent over his belly like a woman with cramps, knees almost to a squat. He is making sounds that do not seem to be words but something like words. ...

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An Elongated Tear: Culebra, Puerto Rico

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pp. 99-112

Culebra is an American Virgin Island with a fierce sound for a past, a sound that still hollows it out and leaves it damaged. Culebra is full of sun and charm, but beneath that, there are the ghosts of empty shells, the whisper of the firing range, the rusted shrapnel blown over with sand. ...

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Squall: Eleven Mile Canyon, Colorado

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pp. 113-125

Sometimes when we live in the day-to-day, in the ordinary, but without being in touch with the sacredness the ordinary should have, we simply drop into the next task and the next, and the days just get longer, and there is no rest, and maybe that’s why, when for the first time my sisters ...

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An American Map: New York City

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pp. 126-147

Because as a child, learning directions—north, south, east, and west—was a great mystery to me, the very idea of a map was like having a paper-folded miracle in a wilderness. Once I understood the idea of maps, everything, even my own body, with its heart on the left side existed in the possibility of a place. ...

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The River Inside (A Prose Poem): Huzzah River, Missouri

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pp. 148-156

Listen, how could I know we would end our stay there with a visit to a cemetery, with the trip to those living graves and a church house on a hillside overlooking the Huzzah River that had just run sorrow through valleys and plains, flooding all the way to the Mississippi? ...

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An Essay of Supposition: Harpswell, Maine

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pp. 157-163

Suppose that a place could come to represent a part of you, or that you could associate parts of your self with specific places, that you could say this place means my heart. My heart would be in Michigan, on that farm where I grew up in Oceana County, ...

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Finding (My) America: Library Tour, Michigan

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pp. 164-199

I am packing our old Mazda, trusting its hundred thousand plus miles to the road yet again. David throws in my frayed blue suitcase; I toss in the unmatched red garment bag. I turn to him and move into his arms and we kiss deeply and hold each other for a long time ...

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Heart of Sand: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

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pp. 200-205

Before the legend of the Sleeping Bear became Michigan’s state story, I was struck by its sad contradictions. It is the tale of the great she-bear, Michimokwa, who, to escape a Wisconsin forest fire, swam with her cubs across Lake Michigan to a new peninsula. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335291
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814334201

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a

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Subject Headings

  • Oomen, Anne-Marie.
  • Authors, American -- 21st century -- Biography.
  • Oomen, Anne-Marie -- Homes and haunts.
  • Oomen, Anne-Marie -- Travel -- United States.
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