The award-winning poet returns to his homeplace in the Pacific Northwest, where the neighborhood simmers with the chemical presence of human trouble and sparks of beauty coexist with danger.
This image-driven, sound-driven collection carries us to the working-class Portland neighborhood of Lents, where Dickman was raised by a single mother. Here, as a skateboarding boy practices his kickflip on the street, enlightenment simmers under the surface of both the natural world and the human constructions that threaten it. The rivers shrinking to a trickle, the unaddressed crisis of homelessness, the drug use in a local park: these run side by side with the efforts and structures of families, created mostly by working mothers, with their jumbled bottomless purses and full-time jobs; Dickman’s own mother worked at the power company of the title, PP&L. His exquisite, ultrareal narratives take us down through these layers, illuminating the way we’ve treated and should treat one another, seeking integrity and understanding in the midst of a broken world.