Flood Stage and Rising
Jane Varley

University of Nebraska Press
Hardcover/128 pages
ISBN: 0-8032-4678-1
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… Jane Varley writes honest human truth with a lyric voice …

North Dakotans say the forty-below-zero winters keep the riffraff out. In the winter of 1997, after an unusually late and heavy snowfall, Lake Agassiz rose from its ancient glacial bed and pushed everyone in Grand Forks and East Forks out.

Born during a flood in Iowa, water characterizes Jane Varley’s life. A friend, a symbol of independence, and a companion, water is a constant symbol, her touchstone. It is also something she must come to terms with when the 1997 flood endangers her home and her future. For the first time, she must decide whether her roots are deep enough to sustain her in this new landscape or if Grand Forks is just another stop along the road to adventure.

Jane Varley writes honest human truth with a lyric voice, capturing the many changing faces of the rivers that marked her passage through life and defined her time in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Flood Stage and Rising delves deep into memory and comes up from the depths with an answer about how deep our roots do go. Varley weaves poetry and landscape into a stark, beautiful, and poignant tapestry of nature’s worst and humanity’s unflagging courage and determination. Her voice is the clear clarion call of a new generation of pioneers.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell