About the Book
In the story of the prophet Elijah, he must flee his home, and, after an arduous journey, he arrives under a broom tree, where he prays for his own death. But in his sleep, he is touched by an angel who provides food and water. In this moment, the broom tree becomes a symbol for shelter in a barren landscape, a portent of hope and renewal.
Drawing inspiration from this tale, Natalie Homer’s debut poetry collection is a trek through the wildernesses of the heart and of the natural world. Exploring the idea of divine providence, Homer finds seams of light opening between forlorn moments and locates, “Something to run a finger through, / something to shine in the ocher light.” Within these narrow spaces, Homer explores themes of longing, home, family, and self-worth amidst the wondrous backdrop of the American West and the Rust Belt, while integrating a rich mythology of narrative, image, and association. The broom tree, offering the capacity for shade and respite, becomes a source of connection and an inspiration for the collection. It is an invitation to sink deep into the earth and self and feel the roots entwine.
Praise for Under the Broom Tree
‘Stay close I urge the young rabbit / as he nears the road.’ Natalie Homer keeps a close watch on the world in this stunning book of poems, moved by a potent mix of curiosity, vigilance, and love. Nothing seems to escape her notice. She looks up and sees a ‘stray clump’ of balloons drifting through the sky. She looks down and sees the ‘creeping gray lives flourishing in corners.’ She looks under cars and in storage closets. No detail is too small. While the polar bear at the zoo may be ‘on vacation,’ even the water in its tank ‘can be a spectacle, too.’ At once wry, candid, and rich with description, Under the Broom Tree is a wonderful book.
—Geoffrey Hilsabeck, author of Riddles, Etc.
In Natalie Homer’s poems, lightning strikes a sewing machine through an open window, balloons arrive as a sign from God, a dead swan’s neck coils up like a fine silver chain, and a river rushes through an abandoned truck’s windows. Like an oasis, her work satisfies a thirst I didn’t know I had. What a pleasure to linger in her poems that move like dreams. With vivid, unexpected images and sudden shifts, she startles me awake.
—Kathleen McGookey, author of Instructions for My Imposter