The book includes two extraordinary longer works: the self-exploratory "Sources" and "Contradictions--Tracking Poems," an ongoing index of an American woman's life.
The poet writes, "In these poems I have been trying to speak from, and of, and to, my country. To speak of a different claim from those staked by the patriots of the sword; to speak of the land itself, the cities, and of the imaginations that have dwelt here, at risk, unfree, assaulted, erased. I believe more than ever that the search for justice and compassion is the great wellspring for poetry in our time, throughout the world, though the theme of despair has been canonized in this country. I draw strength from the traditions of all those who, with every reason to despair, have refused to do so."