Poet Kathleen Flenniken, who we are blessed to have in our mentorship community, has just published an incredible book of poetry titled Plume that focuses on Hanford.  Kathleen grew up in Richland, WA and worked at Hanford for three years as a civil engineer and hydrologist.

In Kathleen’s words, “I started (without recognizing it at first) a very different project, and for close to six years I wrote almost exclusively about Hanford, where plutonium was produced for 40 years, and about its bedroom community, my home town, Richland, Washington. Plume, the resulting full-length collection of poems, is part memoir, part history lesson, part cautionary tale, part quest. It is at its heart a search for identity, as I have tried to synthesize the truths of my childhood with the environmental facts. I’ve learned from the sustained examination of one all-consuming subject.”

These poems are a gift.  Hanford is so swamped with information and complexity you can easily drown trying to make sense of it all.  Kathleen’s poems are like life-rafts bringing a constellation of ideas into one place and then letting your mind digest and mull and travel down all the paths they open up.

By: Liz Mattson

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