Cell Traffic presents new poems and uncollected prose poetry along with selected work from award-winning poet Heid Erdrich's three previous poetry collections. Erdrich's new work reflects her continuing concerns with the tensions between science and tradition, between spirit and body. She finds surprising common ground while exploring indigenous experience in multifaceted ways: personal, familial, biological, and cultural. The title, Cell Traffic, suggests motion and Erdrich considers multiple movements-cellular transfer, the traffic of DNA through body parts and bones, 'migration' through procreation, and the larger 'movements' of indigenousness and ancestral inheritance. Erdrich's wry sensibility, sly wit, and keenly insightful mind have earned her a loyal following. Her point of view is always slightly off center, and this lends a particular freshness to her poetry. The debunking and debating of the science of origins is one of Erdrich's focal subjects. In this collection, she turns her observational eye to the search for a genetic mother of humanity, forensic anthropology's quest for the oldest known bones, and online offers of genetic testing. But her interests are not limited to science. She freely admits popular culture into her purview as well, referencing sci-fi television series and Internet pop-up ads.
Heid E. Erdrich is an independent scholar, curator, playwright, and founding publisher of Wiigwaas Press, which specializes in Ojibwe-language publications. She grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain. Heid has taught college writing for two decades, both as a tenured professor and as a visiting author and scholar at dozens of colleges, universities, libraries, and arts organizations. She is the author of three previous books of poetry, including National Monuments, which won the 2009 Minnesota Book Award.