Coding and decoding are threads running through the poems of Uncoded Woman, which together tell the story of a woman named Bead and her search for safe harbor.
“LN1: You Should Proceed with Caution.” “D: Keep Clear of Me: I Am Maneuvering with Difficulty.” “YZ: The Words Which Follow Are in Plain Language.” The maritime International Code of Signals—a dictionary of ship’s pennants and the message they convey—becomes a symbolic guide to Bead’s journey, as she learns that some signs mislead while others illuminate. Along the way, the beautiful terrain near Lake Michigan forms a powerful backdrop to Bead’s life with Barn, her Native American boyfriend, whose struggles are in stark contrast to the wealthy resort community around them.
From exhilaration to degradation, from betrayal to self-reliance, Anne-Marie Oomen’s poems give voice to a woman’s life on the edge.
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Praise and Prizes
“Lively . . . At times dreamily beautiful . . . Uncoded Woman is a fine example of the kind of collection that gains in its accumulation.”
“A powerful mediation on women, poverty, and the destructive nature of secrets; it rewards attentive readers with an experience rich in language and transformation.”
“Anne-Marie Oomen’s strong character, iconoclastic language, and suspenseful plotting will satisfy dual desires for the grace of poetry and the immersion of the novel.”
“Raw, captivating . . . Uncoded Woman is at once a compelling story of a symbolic search for safe harbor and a powerful poetic rendition of life’s hidden gems surfacing from a harsh world honestly encountered.”
“Earthy and vernacular, yet the verse is nothing short of virtuosic.”