Deborah Fries’s marvelous debut collection, Various Modes of Departure, is mostly about women and the many good-byes they say – to a marriage, a long-lived in home and beloved locale, an elderly father, a threatened landscape. Fries’s lines are mother lodes of sensory images that incorporate regional descriptions, pop cultural images, brand names, references to singing stars, and expert knowledge of earth science and botany. Encyclopedic and smart, Fries’s poems both teach and delight.
Deborah Fries was the Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania from 2006 – 2007. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Cimarron Review, Terrain, and other journals, including the premiere issue ofCream City Review. A recipient of a grant from the Leeway Foundation, she lives in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She received an MA in English from the University of Wisconsin.
Her first book, Various Modes of Departure, was selected by Carolyn Forché as a Kore Press First Book Winner. In the anthology Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq, Fries writes about her time in the US Air Force, which she joined in 1968. After one year, she left with her sergeant, a Vietnam vet, whom she married. She says that marriage and pregnancy seemed preferable to working in a field hospital in Southeast Asia.