A Rope the Body Made

Jennifer Bailey Hutchinson, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


The following manuscript explores the concept of inheritance—both physical and psychological—across generations in the Mississippi Delta region and along the upper Mississippi River. What of the things we carry can be traced back to those we have never met? How do the behaviors of our predecessors implicate us in our daily choices? Using image-rich language rooted in regional landscapes, folklore, and speech patterns, these poems investigate pan-generational bonds as well as the tenderness and violence therein. These poems also explore gender and the physical expectations placed upon our bodies—particularly the potentially child-bearing body. What are these bodies allowed to consume, and how? What, if anything, do they owe to the culture that houses them, the individuals that created them?