Anatomy of a Swan

by | Mixed Media

Artist’s Statement:“Anatomy of a Swan” is an excerpt from my hybrid-form book, The Bird-Hat Wearer’s Journal. Designed as a turn-of-the-century women’s magazine and combining poetry, memoir, research, and image, this project deals specifically with the history of feather-fashions and conservation, and more broadly with the cultural relationship between women and birds, and women and nature. I think of it existing at a juncture between feminist theory, environmental studies, and the history of fashion.

This excerpt feels particularly vulnerable and scary to me, as it explores a time in my life that I’ve almost never written about previously and never published material from. The connection with Swan Lake offered me a form and a partner narrative that allowed me to investigate the darker side of my own yearnings to achieve a particular feminine “ideal.”

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About The Author


Sarah Rose Nordgren is the author of Best Bones (2014), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and Darwin’s Mother (2017). Her poems and essays appear widely in periodicals such as Agni, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, Copper Nickel, and American Poetry Review, and she creates video and performance text art in collaboration with Kathleen Kelley under the name Smart Snow. Among her awards are two winter fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and fellowships and scholarships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Conferences, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Nordgren holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA in poetry from University of North Carolina Greensboro, and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from University of Cincinnati where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Books by Sarah Rose Nordgren

Darwin's Mother by Sarah Rose Nordgren
Sarah Rose Nordgren