House Crossing is a book of 32 poems about where we live or, more properly, dwell, with each poem entitled by a different attribute of domestic architecture as it is commonly known: Cupola, eaves, attic, beams, etc. Such might lend itself to description, but--reminiscent in part of Ronald Johnson's oeuvre (The Foundations, The Spires and The Ramparts)--in the vision of poet and scholar Laurie Patton each component becomes alive to an actuality beyond physical construct: The poetics of how we hold our ground, even if it is in flux--or as she writes, "A river runs... below the house." The instigation for this poetic cycle is Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, with this collection a homage to that classic phenomenological analysis. As she writes in her introduction, House Crossing arose as "a straightforward observation about the endurance of Bachelard’s work: if a poetics is good enough, and I believe Bachelard’s is, then it does not only comment on poetry, but can give rise to poetry as well." What Patton gives rise to is in part an opportunity for us each to live more evocatively in our days and nights in each our own place, building a being, as "Noah's ark stands / at the end of our hallway."
Laurie L. Patton is author or editor of nine books on religion, mythology, and literature. Her most recent books of poems are Angel's Task: Poems in Biblical Time (Station Hill) and Fire’s Goal: Poems from the Hindu Year, which was named a Publisher’s Weekly Pick of the Month in 2003. She has also translated the Bhagavad Gita for the Penguin Press Classics Series (2008). She has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Foundation in Israel, the Fulbright Foundation in India, and the Goldwasser Fund for Religion and the Arts. The former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Duke University, she is currently President of Middlebury College.