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Ellen Million wrote about Torn World, a science fantasy shared world.  (For more details, see "Start Here for Readers.") These poems form a triptych, each showing a separate event in the life of the same character.  So they are united by the protagonist, and appear in chronological order, even though they are not immediately adjacent to each other in time.

"First Day on the Trail" introduces a young ranger and her duties taking care of camp and the giant snow-unicorns.  Learning new skills can be challenging, but you just have to keep taking it one step at a time.

"A Wild Wind" describes a violent storm, and not the usual snowstorm that these folks are used to withstanding.  It's a good example of wilderness adventure, and scary for the young ranger.

"Youngest and Oldest" explores shifting social roles on the job.  Suddenly there is an even younger ranger, and our hera has someone looking up to her.  That's life; about the time you figure out what you're doing, something new gets added.

This series has a linear structure.  You can clearly see that, although it has a reasonable stopping point after the third poem, it could also continue along the same trajectory if author and audience so desire.  The poems have a consistent style and voice, although the tone varies from patient to wild to introspective through the set.  It's a good example of narrative and storytelling in serial poetry -- and a reminder that not everything has to be about a plot of earthshaking scope.


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February 2017


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