Home and Other Duty Stations by Emily Lake Hansen intricately explores the complexities of home and family. She begins by proclaiming “I don’t know what home is- a house / that doesn’t spread between coasts” and uses the rest of the book to explore how to find imperfect snippets of home through deeply realized relationships and artfully described places.
Shifting settings among naval bases across America, Hansen delicately captures the tension and uncertainty of a displaced childhood and the inheritance of intergenerational imperfections. She employs parallel narratives, overlaying the past, expressed through the relationship between her parents–a sailor and performing mermaid–through the lens of childhood, onto the experiences of wife and mother, creating a deftly interlocking work of remembrance and introspection.
Although the impermanence of places figures deeply in Hansen’s work, she expresses profound wonder at the natural landscapes of beaches, mountains, and deserts, as well as her interactions and encounters inhabiting them. In clear narrative rich with natural images and complicated characters, Hansen chronicles the uncertainty of a troubled family, exposing the reality of home and placelessness.
Emily Lake Hansen is the author of Home and other Duty Stations (Kelsay Books, 2020) and the chapbook The Way the Body Had to Travel (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atticus Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Rust + Moth, Midway Journal, and Up the Staircase Quarterly among others. She is a PhD student at Georgia State University and serves as the poetry editor for Minerva Rising Press. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing entirely too many children’s board games in Atlanta.
Kat McKay is a Junior at the University of Tennessee studying English Literature, Creative Writing, and Classical Civilizations. She is the Creative Director of the Highlander Reading Series and an Event Coordinator for the Women’s Coordinating Council. You can usually find her in the woods. Or not. She gets lost easily.