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As in the poet’s earlier collection, Stateside, the poems in Dots & Dashes are explicitly feminist, exploring the experiences of women whose husbands are deployed. But, even as Stateside looked to masculine stories of war, Dots & Dashes contains the views and voices of female poets who have written about combat. Having a look to Sappho and Emily Dickinson, the poet considers how the act of writing allows her autonomy and agency rarely granted to military spouses, even in the twenty-first century. Dubrow catalogs the domestic life of a military spouse, illustrating what it is like to live in a tightly constructed world of rules and regulations, ceremony and tradition, where “each and every sacrifice already / knows its place.”
Navigating the rough seas of marriage alongside questions about how civilians and those in the military can discover ways to be in contact with one another, Dubrow argues for compassion and empathy on both sides. In this timely collection, Dubrow offers the hope that if we will be able to break apart our preconceptions and stereotypes, we will be able to find what connects all of us.