Deena Metzger is a writer, activist, and healer in the 1960s radical and 1970s intellectual feminist traditions. Since childhood, her poetry has been deeply rooted in the natural world and the body. In her forties, she underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer and soon wrote her first book on the subject, Tree, which was included in The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the War Out of Them (Peace Press, 1981). Metzger reads from and signs copies of her latest novel, A Rain of Night Birds (Hand to Hand Publishing) at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, at the Ark (133 Romero St., 505-988-3709).
In Night Birds, Metzger shines as an ecologically minded poet through her protagonist, Sandra Birdswell, a climatology student with the ability to sense upcoming weather events. Her path crosses with that of Terrance, a Native American climatology professor, when she is in college — and then again after the United Nations releases its 2007 report on climate change. Metzger’s prose is lush with music and passionate in its momentum. “Two people hurtled down a dark highway, passing through impersonal clusters of stores and malls that pass for human settlements and which stop abruptly before intermittent orchards, vineyards, and dry fields,” she writes. “Redwood forests had been decimated to build towns. There was no logic for the terrain except for human willfulness. The dark was protective, allowing only the sensation of landscape, of generic trees and long shallow curves of obscured hills leading to mountains. Lights sped toward them and passed beyond. Strange lights that eclipsed the stars. The punctured moon fell down and further down.” For more information, visit www.arkbooks.com. — Jennifer Levin