Map Making by Kate Hutchinson

Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity

by Kate Hutchinson
© 2015-2017

Do you consider yourself a "city girl," or a "small-town guy," or a "suburban mom?" Our souls contain landscapes, and not just the metaphoric kind. What we see daily as we look out upon the world leaves an indelible imprint on us and shapes our relationships – to each other and to the planet. We're forever fused with the regions where we come of age, sometimes becoming hybrids of multiple landscapes as we shift and move to new places.

In the 50 poems and prose-poems of "Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity", poet Kate Hutchinson explores the daily rituals and negotiations many of us make as we move through Midwestern landscapes. Her life as a suburbanite, raised in outskirts of O'Hare Airport, has prompted Kate to ask some key questions about the suburban identity. What is it that pulls some of us into the city and others toward open space? How is it that many of us feel the tug toward both places over the years? What happens to our sense of community and of self as we pass time inside our walls and fences, perhaps commuting alone to places far away? And what of the creatures whose habitats are razed to make way for our concrete roads and foundations – the birds and fowl, the squirrels and mice, the coyotes and deer?

Ultimately, Kate urges us to pay attention to those ever-shrinking, less-touched places around us. In poems that conjure landscapes of farms and cities, suburban back yards, woodlands and prairies, and even the distant surface of the moon, she reminds us to remember that we are each but one being in a huge and complex universe. It is essential for those of us who have the means to take care of ourselves to also assist those who cannot – human and otherwise. "Map Making" invites readers to wonder about their own internal and external landscapes – to consider how each informs the other.


“In her new book, Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity, we leap with Kate Hutchinson past 'the gray limbo of perhaps.' She takes us on a striking yet reassuring narrative and lyrical road trip in the lap of the Midwest—from HyVee to wind farms, from grasslands to manicured-lawn suburbia. Her intimate voice resonates, warms us on the top of a car hood while jumbo-jet gazing and cools us off while we stride with her at a mega-mall. We are sure we’ve met spunky, orange-haired Doris and the late-night coffee pourer, played Monopoly at Christmas, and danced bootless to Thriller on New Year’s Eve. Hutchinson’s words sweep us along, deftly pointing us home—no need for a red sock trail.”

Gail Goepfert

author of A Mind on Pain and Associate Editor for RHINO magazine

“Just as these are poems of place, pin-pointed and clarified as dots on maps, they are also poems of everywhere. Like a 'Paper Tower ten books across,' they encompass 'all we were to be and not to be.' And as 'ribbons of the universe,' Kate Hutchinson’s poetry swaths us in the wanderlust of those who push boundaries, seeking 'to know where every road ends.' Her poems beg the question, Aren’t we all looking for our Ithaca?”

Emily Shearer

Poetry Editor, Minerva Rising Literary Journal

“Rooted tenderly to the suburbs, skies, and sensibilities of the Midwest, Kate Hutchinson’s Map Making reaches upward for a lyricism of the everyday, discovers it, and moves us beyond the confines of maps and their making to a region outside the atlas, a tender, hopeful place where time, memory, and meaning, like tendrils, converge and intertwine.”

Ryan Asmussen

author of The Englishman and the Butterfly


November 18, 2015Kate Hutchinson appearing on Poetry Today

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Press Releases

November 15, 2015Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity by Kate Hutchinson Paperback Published
September 21, 2015Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity by Kate Hutchinson Paperback To Be Published on November 15, 2015


E-BookBarnes & NobleGoogle PlayAppleSmashwords
List PriceUSD 2.99
PublicationNovember 15, 2015
PaperbackBuy DirectAmazonBarnes & Noble
List PriceUSD 14.95
PublicationNovember 15, 2015
Dimensions5.5" (w) x 8.5" (h) x 0.2" (d)
Weight3.5 ounces


POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Places (POE023040)

POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Family (POE023050)

POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Nature (POE023030)

POETRY / Women Authors (POE024000)


Biography, Literature & Literary studies (D)
Poetry (DC)
Modern & contemporary poetry (c 1900 onwards) (DCC)
Poetry by individual poets (DCF)