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The Scent of Water: New and Selected Poems

Ivy Dempsey

The Scent of Water maps a pilgrimage from a child's puzzled awakening, through the shock of adult despairs, toward the humbling wisdom of acceptance. How does meaning happen in our immediate experience? And what role must a basic sense of reverence play as we parse our world? Throughout the poems, these questions underlie the vital impact of specific landscapes of trees, skies, and waters in Oklahoma, Kansas, California, and New Mexico. In trees, especially, Dempsey finds a symbol for our belonging both to the heart of earth and body of the heavens in a mysterious universe that welcomes biblical as well as scientific interpretations. Bringing the reader to both root and light, The Scent of Water proposes that the way we live and die can be transformed when we understand that one energy sustains all our minds, bodies, each burning star.


Educated at the University of Tulsa (A.M., Ph.D.), Ivy Dempsey has taught at California State University, Los Angeles and UCLA, and is now an associate poetry editor for Nimrod. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Published By La Alameda Press

6 x 9 in. 123 pages