Visions on Alligator Alley, by Laura McDermott


Visions on Alligator Alley is an ekphrastic story in verse inspired by the 2015 Girls’ Club Fort Lauderdale gallery exhibit “The Moment. The Backdrop. The Persona.” Poems inspired by artwork from the exhibit depict a story through verse as well as by visual landscape. Laura McDermott traces the journey of a Florida woman who struggles with the overwhelmingly masculine world she lives in, and with feelings of desire, longing, and deep mourning.

Laura McDermott is the founder and executive director of Orange Island Arts Foundation, a literary arts organization. McDermott studied creative writing at Florida State University, received her M.F.A. in poetry from Florida International University, and is a tenured assistant professor of English at Broward College. She was the recipient of the 2014 Wells Fargo Endowed Teaching Chair. As a member of the Miami Poetry Collective, McDermott’s poems are regularly featured in its Cent Journal Series: A Modern Anthology of Miami Poets. Her poems have also appeared in Screw Iowa! the Virginia Key website, The Selected Collective: Volume VII of Tigertail, and Poets & Artists. She is the 2014-2015 Writer-in-Residence of Girls’ Club, Ft. Lauderdale.

Laura McDermott

Praise for Visions on Alligator Alley

In Visions on Alligator Alley, Laura McDermott responds to an array of visual artists who challenge her and enlarge her voice in these stunning poems. McDermott’s work, rooted in concrete detail, opens the artists’ pieces in surprising directions.  Cars and movement, two of McDermott’s themes, build throughout the book, celebrating female freedom—a road trip you won’t want to miss. — Denise Duhamel, author of Blow Out

How fitting that each poem is nestled next to its own artwork, for McDermott writes like a painter, splashing words on paper boldly… There’s a raw beauty here, as though the speakers can’t or won’t filter their courage; one says of herself, “I’m the mum – bling in the woodshed.” That’s as good a definition of a poet as any… if the poet is able to get at the truths of the mind and heart as McDermott does. — David Kirby, author of The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems

The poems in Laura McDermott’s Visions on Alligator Alley idle “halfway between/the drainage ditch and the stars.” Place roots these poems in Florida with its Coppertone tans and landlocked mermen with bleached hair. Suffering needs a setting, whether it’s the moldy carpet of a hotel room or lovers hitchhiking through the Everglades, and here place grounds the reader while cars serve as a vehicle for desire, as metaphor for journey. Through the art that inspired each piece, McDermott summons the story out of each image–stories of the passion, of grief, of “coupling until we break the infinity.” Navigating these stories of loss and desire, lovers and family, McDermott helps us cross that emotional tightrope between that drainage ditch, those stars. —Traci Brimhall, author of Our Lady of the Ruins

3 thoughts on “Visions on Alligator Alley, by Laura McDermott

  1. This book of poetry invokes a wide variety of emotions in the reader. The author creates a collage of images of her relationship with her father, and sets them with a different backdrop through out the book. The poetry is very interesting, although it can seem dreary at times. I was pleasantly intrigued as a read through the pages rapidly. The stories told kept my keen attention from start to finish, and I’m glad I could experience the poetry within “Visions on Alligator Alley”.

  2. I really enjoyed this book! While reading it, I felt various of emotion; the main two being anger and sadness. My heart really went out to the one in the actual story. Although I experienced anger and sadness, there was one poem that stood out to me. The one about (assuming this is you) how you pray for your husband. I really loved this one and laughed when you told him your reason for not writing him a poem yet. That was a very good reason by the way. Keep it up! I’m able to appreciate this book more since I really love poetry and write it myself here and there. THANK YOU!!

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