Travel Back in Time to the 1970s With Sasha Steensen’s “House of Deer”
Sasha Steensen’s poetry collection House of Deer takes the reader back in time to 1970s America, which was a time of idealism, promises, naturalism, and yes, even drug addiction. She frames the pros and cons of the ‘70s in terms of the family unit. In some pieces, families make the decision to “go back to the land” but ultimately wind up moving away from it. In other poems, families struggle with one relative’s drug addiction and attempt to keep their bonds from splitting apart.
Aside from how family bonds are made and broken, Steensen also looks at Ohio during the ‘70s. Many of the characters in her poems become disenchanted with both their home state and their family and struggle to figure out who they really are, especially since their entire identity is often wrapped up in where they live. However, by the time readers reach the end of the poetry collection, many of the characters will learn to accept their fate as well as the fact that sometimes families have to split up in order to keep one’s sanity intact.
Steensen’s lyrical poetry is full of fantastical imagery that will allow her readers to look at the ‘70s and the concept of a “family unit” through a different lens and gain new insight into why some families become dysfunctional.