New Recruits Episode 23: Devra Charney Reads Leanne Dunic

Welcome back to New Recruits! If it’s your first time here, check out Episode 1 for a description of how this works.

Devra Charney and I have known each other since sixth grade. She would always bring a mini, halloween size Mars bar to school for dessert and offer to split it with anyone who wanted a piece. Now she shares bigger desserts (usually giant cookies). I gave Devra a few poems to choose from, all by different poets, and she chose a poem from Leanne Dunic’s debut collection, To Love the Coming EndThis means that New Recruits is featuring a BookThug publication for the second week in a row. I generally like to mix it up, but Devra was available this week and I couldn’t not show her Dunic’s work. I knew she’d be into the prose poem form and extended metaphors.

So here’s Devra Charney reading the poem on page 29 of To Love the Coming End that begins, “Remember the days when I became a rhizome”:



What was your first impression of the poem?

The analogy between growing a scientific specimen and nurturing a human relationship highlights how hard it is to sustain life, even under carefully controlled circumstances.

Which line of the poem do you like best?

“I tried to give you attention without possession.”


There is a precarious balance between caring for something while leaving it room to grow and controlling something in an attempt to keep it close.

What does this poem make you think of?

A failed relationship.

Are there any words in this poem that you don’t understand?

Rhizome – I think it is part of a plant.

Would you like to understand them?


Have you encountered a poem like this before? Is this poem different from what you expected poetry to be like? If so, How?

This poem is written in the form of a paragraph instead of in stanzas. I read another poem from the same book, and it is also written in paragraphs.

Do you have any questions for the poet?

How did this relationship form, progress, and end? How did the pills that you mention in the last line affect your life?

Devra Charney is a 23 year old law student who loves writing, bicycling, and travelling.

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