OWLS HEAD — Claire Millikin has two new collections of poetry that circle around and delve into her upbringing in the American South. Through physical objects, Millikin’s work considers the sexism and racism in the area she was born in, as well as the transient and shifting nature of our lives.

In her book “Transitional Objects”  (Unicorn Press, April 2022), Milliken considers the objects that make up and are discarded in the process of a life: movies, haircuts, forests, backroads, pottery, photographs, jewelry, birds. The book is bound as four booklets: “Film,” “Straight Line,” “Fakes” and “Afterimage,” encouraging readers to experience the narrative of “Transitional Objects” as fluent and shifting. It is the objects, the places where a life is held and the places that a life holds, that create this haunting and spare poetry of vision and touch.

In her book “Dolls”  (2Leaf Press, December 2021), Milliken works through the motif of the doll, as the poems question and consider femininity in the traditional culture of the South, where damaging structures of gender and race are upheld. The book centers on an elegy for Sage Smith, an African American trans woman who disappeared from Charlottesville, Virginia in 2012. Through the recurring figure of the doll — an ultra-femme figure who is frozen, damaged, silenced — “Dolls” protests the conditions of sexism, offering poised responses to the wound of injustice that still shapes the American southeast.

Millikin is the author of seven books of poetry, including “After Houses — Poetry for the Homeless,” “Tartessos and Other Cities” and “Ransom Street,” also published by 2Leaf Press. She has taught at the University of Maine Farmington and at the University of Virginia, and she holds a research fellowship at Princeton. Under the name of Claire Raymond, she publishes scholarship focusing on issues of race, gender, and decolonizing theory. Her scholarly books include “Witnessing Sadism in Texts of the American South” and “Women Photographers and Feminist Aesthetics.” For more information on the author, visit claireraymond.org.