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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Johansen


Well, it doesn’t read like James Joyce. It’s not meant to read like James Joyce. But ultimately, After Our Exile comes from the same place as James Joyce, who aimed to take the ordinary and make it everything out of the ordinary: the grit and poverty – both physical and spiritual – of early 20th century Dublin transformed into epiphanies of human life.

In a modest way, I hope that’s what this poem does. It tells you that there is nothing out of the ordinary going on, just an everyday paddle in Wilson Creek. You’ve met the egret before, the one that leads us into the marsh beyond Wilson Farms. In Palace of Wisdom, the egret is the vehicle of revelation.

But not here. Here the tide turns; we head towards home; and the light of the sun glistens on the water.

And that’s the revelation, the epiphany that turns the ordinary into everything out of the ordinary.

It happens every day.

I’m not sure why Joyce made it seem so hard.

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