Winner of the Firewheel Chapbook Award
25 Sightings is inspired by those who watch and wait, and, finally, report sightings of a bird believed to be extinct for over half a century. The bird was magnificent-black with a white chevron stripe across the wing and an ivory bill. The bird fell victim to the Singer Sewing Machine. Singer clear-cut much of the southern forest, the home of the Ivory-billed, to meet the demand for sewing machine cabinets.
On one level 25 Sightings chronicles reports from those who have seen the bird that is "believed to be extinct" and posits that we have an overwhelming desire to keep the bird alive, if nothing else, in our collective imagination. On another level it tells the story of the writer's family as it chronicles the old behaviors of a fading generation. It juxtaposes the vanishing of the woodpecker with the impending loss of the writer's grandmother. This is a prose poem about extinction that suggests that we might find renewal in sightings and listings.
Re'Lynn Hansen's work has appeared in Hawai'i Review, Rhino, New Madrid, Water~Stone, New South, Poem Memoir Story, and contrary.com. She teaches in the Creative Nonfiction Program of Columbia College Chicago.