Confronted by a world in turmoil, poet Virginia Crawford mines the seam between the personal and the political. Her new collection, questions for water, brings Crawford’s lyrical voice and intimate perspective to the challenges faced by twenty-first century families, America, and the world. From the fires that raged in Australia, to the racial injustices embedded within the American legal system, to a search for a gun hidden within her son’s Baltimore school, Crawford serves as a voice for both the unmoored individual and the battle-weary global citizen as she articulates her fears and her longing for a lifeline to guide us all safely beyond the reach of dark times. At the center of the book is the luminous title poem in which Crawford reaches simultaneously back to her family’s own immigrant experience and outward to the contemporary immigrant experiences that define America in this historical moment. Author of the 2011 collection Touch and a teaching artist with the Maryland State Arts Council, Crawford reminds us of the healing power of an embrace, the sustaining power of love, and the visionary power of poetry.

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“Crawford’s debut book is a map for our present day with its challenges and dangers. This is what I see, page after page, an emotional response that calms us, words said thoughtfully, made beautiful.”

– Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate

“Questions for Water fearlessly embraces painful realities, reminding us that trying to stay safe in this world is like trying to hold onto a fistful of water.”

– Michael Glaser, former Maryland Poet Laureate and professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland

“Expressive and meditative, quiet and inclusive, these inquisitive poems grope for answers in the social landscapes and universal particulars of our twenty-first-century lives.”

– Edgar Silex, Author of Through All the Displacements and Acts of Love

“Virginia Crawford delves into the realities and complexities of the matriarch, articulating the nuances of emotion, peeling away the layers of the world to make sense of it while protecting, nurturing, and loving the nest she cultivates.

In her poetic meditations, she reaches down and exposes the richness of the natural world, while questioning the human constructs that interface with it – again in complexities of dark and light. Her investigations not only reveal her vulnerabilities, but turn to ask us to explore further, to comprehend the interweaving of the personal and the political, and to internalize its implications.

I invite you to experience her offerings and witness her storytelling brilliance.”

Ron Kipling Williams, author, performance artist, professor