My Life in Cars
by Linda Strever
Through a myriad of experiences with cars, these poems explore the events, relationships and evolution of a woman’s life.
About the Author
Linda Strever grew up in Connecticut and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education at Central Connecticut State University. In her mid-thirties she moved to Brooklyn, New York, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where she was awarded the Louis Goodman Creative Writing Scholarship.
Her poetry collection, Against My Dreams, was published in 2013. The collection was a finalist for both the Intro Series Poetry Prize and the Levis Poetry Prize from Four-Way Books, the New Issues Press Award in Poetry, and the Ohio State University Press Award in Poetry.
Her novel, Don’t Look Away, published in 2015, was a finalist for the Eludia Award from Hidden River Arts.
Winner of the Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize from CALYX Journal, her work has been a finalist for the Hill-Stead Museum’s Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize, the Crab Creek Review Poetry Award, the A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction, as well as in the Provincetown OuterMost Poetry Contest, the William Van Wert Fiction Competition, and the Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Competition.
Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction have been published widely in journals and magazines, and she is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
She has worked as a proofreader, editor, graphic artist, teacher, trainer, and mediator and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.
[www.LindaStrever.com • www.Facebook.com/LindaStrever]
What They’re Saying…
My Life in Cars by Linda Strever is at once a history and a poetic memoir, punctuated with poignant nostalgia, comedic vignettes and soul-searching heartbreak. Each vehicle transports the reader along back roads and highways of the struggles and triumphs throughout the poet’s life; a road filled with unexpected twists and turns that eventually lead to wisdom and perspective. Entertaining and enlightening, Strever takes us for a trip of a lifetime. As she puts it, “we grow to fill the landscape we find ourselves in.” Sit in the back and watch her eloquently full landscapes slide by. It’s a deeply satisfying road trip.
~ Patrick Dixon, author of Arc of Visibility
While Strever’s collection offers vivid portraits of cars as its title suggests, at the heart of these poems are the experiences, by turns harrowing, tender, and mundane, that forge a rebellious young person into a contemplative adult. Her writing is crisp with physical detail, through which we catch glints of understated emotionality. “Never did much rambling in the car/ despite its name. It was pale blue with gray interior, like my days.” Strever doesn’t sentimentalize tragedy, but gives it to us kindly, like a good friend who knows that life will always alloy great pain with joy. “The list of my dead keeps growing. They ride beside me/ in the ghost-white car, the one I’ll drive toward my old age,/ equipped with six airbags to cushion the blows.” Reading these poems is a pleasure that will leave you feeling wiser for having been invited to share in hard-won lessons of a life not your own.
~ Emily Van Kley, author of The Cold and the Rust
Each make and model in Linda Strever’s My Life in Cars narrates an unanticipated stop on one woman’s ultimate American road trip, spanning forty-plus years from coast to coast. Poignant and bold, these poems move me to reconsider how the cars we drive transport our stories, recasting our daily lived experiences into the dreams and tragedies that inhabit every Memory’s Lane.
~ Sandra Yannone, author of Maiden Voyage
Who would have thought a single symbol could generate an entire life out of ten poems? What motif for a maturing American woman could be more telling than the car, the ‘auto’? Linda Strever reflects on focal points of her life, anchoring the emotional, the devastating, in the mechanical to make them not only real but possible to describe. Strever, as always, is mistress of poetic narrative. There is not one word too many, yet no ambiguity. In “1996 Honda Civic” she writes, “I traveled with my love, with women friends, / alone—into the Cascade Mountains, to the edge of the Hoh/ Rainforest, along the banks of the Columbia River, to bluffs/ overlooking the Pacific—yet most of the geography was internal.” The collection moves from youth through loss to a level of acceptance with deep sensuality and sexuality. Not only do I know more about Linda after riding with her in Ramblers and Impalas, I understand more about my own road.
~ Joanne M. Clarkson, author of The Fates