Rosemarie Dombrowski

I’m an obsessive writer. Thus, I’ll often select a branch of science (or a disease that has afflicted my family), and begin drilling into its core, boring down as deeply as I can and/or until I reach the point of exhaustion (or boredom). Poetry, to me, is the unification of the lyrical and the factual, the universal and the subjective.

The Audubon Guide to Relationships poems are born out of the plates and corresponding journal entries of John Audubon, printed between 1827 and 1838. My personal familiarity with the North American bird species that I’ve written about is largely nonexistent, so you could say that I’m living vicariously through Audubon, attempting to understand not only the nature of each species, but how their behaviors and songs and coloration (as well as their relationships with the regional flora and fauna) provide insight into human relationships. And that’s where subjectivity comes into the process—these poems are part ornithological translation, part psycho-confessional dance, part social critique. They are both celebrations and warnings. Maybe they are the ultimate guide to relationships after all.