From Carole Simmons Oles comes a new modern poetry biography, this one based on the life of American sculptor Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908). After an exceptional apprenticeship in Rome, Hosmer opened a studio there where she was associated with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, and the Brownings. Though some of her work survives today, much of it has disappeared.
Oles rediscovers Hosmer’s life in Waking Stone. This is a dialogue, an exploration of what Oles calls their “parallel universes.” In beautiful and affecting lyric and narrative poems, some in Hosmer’s voice, some in her own, Oles bends time and circumstances to reveal the essential kinship between two women artists. Oles keeps readers moving through Hosmer’s story, with its flashes of delight, anger, mischief, and triumph, as well as through Oles’s life and time, speaking imaginatively to young women about cutting themselves with razor blades, and to older women about suffering disfiguring treatments for breast cancer.