Home » Newpages Blog » Finding Strength in Ocean Currents

Finding Strength in Ocean Currents

Guest Post by Chloe Yelena Miller.

Ocean Currents by Hannah Rousselot offers the reader the narrator’s strength as she directly faces emotional and physical pain and struggles with mental illness. Rousselot does what a good teacher should do, as she writes in the poem “Guidance,” “Or, I should say, I do not teach them- / I provide the tools they need to live within themselves.” Rousselot gives the reader the tools to face and learn from such hard emotions.

The collection opens with the poem “Vacation” which immediately introduces suicide. The poem begins, “What if you could kill yourself, / but like, only for a day?” When I read the opening line, I paused. Could I handle reading this, I wondered? The conversational tone and turn in the poem with, “but like,” offered me a path into the poem and the collection.

Ocean Currents is rooted in the body. The narrator describes hurting herself, but also actively grounding herself. She writes in “Immersed,” “When I rise out of the pond, water drips down / my skin and sinks into the ground. The Earth is soft // between my toes. Standing there, wet and grounded, I can feel the rotation of my planet.” When the narrator’s hurt and relief are boldly and physically described, the reader knows she can trust the poems.

This is a book that instructs: face your truth while tending your needs to survive. In “Sleepwalking”, Rousselot writes, “It {Life} needs a reminder to wake up.” Ocean Currents grounds and wakes up the reader to know herself and others.

In “Leather Gloves” Rousselot writes, “& how can you be adult with so much / child inside of you?” But she has the superpower described in the same poem, “In college, I tell my friend about my / ‘world’ hurts and she tells me / that I have a superpower.”

Ocean Currents by Hannah Rousselot. Finishing Line Press, June 2021

Reviewer bio: Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and teacher living in Washington, D.C.

Spread the word!