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The Value of Drifting Off Course

At the English Reading Series, Danielle Dubrasky shared passages from her book of poetry, Drift Migration.

Maybe getting lost on one’s journey is the perfect opportunity to discover someplace wonderful. On Friday, February 24, Danielle Dubrasky came to BYU to read from her recent book of poetry, Drift Migration. The poetry she read built on both the notion of space and the idea of drift migration.

The Notion of Space

Having moved from the East Coast to the West, Dubrasky understands how the notion of space can change based on context. In the East, a two-hour car trip is an event worthy of a weekend and a hotel stay. In the West, a two-hour car trip might be part of a normal weekly routine.

Space changes based on our perception, and Dubrasky works this principle into her poetry by moving quickly from larger ideas to small details. The contrast creates space within her poetry, giving it a sense of vastness.

Poetry takes its readers on a journey from place to place, moving at “lightning speed to places we never imagined.” Dubrasky stated that this is part of what she loves about poetry, how you can travel between spaces and see different emotions within the course of a single poem.

She mentioned that “all things crisscross.” A poem can take place within a space, outside a space looking in, within multiple spaces, or from opposite perspectives, and with all these options it can show the reader the value of that space.

Drifting Off Course

The term drift migration refers to “when a bird, or flock of birds, gets blown off course during migration.” Dubrasky thought the term worked well to describe when humans are on a journey and how life can sometimes blow people off their intended course.

Tiny reminders of life events, such as a beam of sunlight on linoleum, cherry blossoms, or a hat left on a hook, can bring about large gusts of emotion that push people off their intended path. It pushes them from a comfortable space into unknown emotional territory, in essence undergoing drift migration. In a line from her book she says, “Small things undo me.”

While many people value a journey only because it gets them to their destination, there is value in getting lost and finding new spaces to enjoy. Unexpected detours lead to spaces that may astound and mystify.

A new locale may bring old emotions back to life or excite new ones. Drifting is not someone getting lost but finding something new. And with the vast spaces contained in poetry, a person doesn’t even have to leave their house to do so.

Drift into the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium Fridays at noon to hear distinguished authors read their award-winning works for the English Reading Series.