“West of where the natives say is conversation”

Elizabeth (Betsy) Aoki answered our call for found poems with “West of where the natives say is conversation.” When we asked her for some introductory remarks about it, she responded:

This poem, based on The Climates of the Continents by W. G. Kendrew, emerged when I realized I was much more fascinated with the way “the natives” were coping with the weather and all its excesses and violence than the actual weather patterns themselves. Because so often indigenous people never get to speak in older Western historical treatises, my project was to have them speak using fragments I found, as well as language divined from the text itself. I also fancifully supposed there might be nosy and possibly ham-handed interviewers, trying with Mr. Kendrew to talk with the natives about the weather.