Poetry in America offers extravagantly formed lyric and narrative poems that function like works of social realism for our times: hard times, wartime, divorce, times of downturn and dissipated resources. Where, in such times, can poetry emerge, the book asks—and answers—again and again. Largely set in rural places and small towns, these poems are politically committed but deeply sensuous, emotionally complex and compassionate. They take up the everyday in meaningful ways, and deliver it with blunt force, yet not without hope or bright humor.
Poet Eamon Grennan has said, “I admire Julia Kasdorf’s poems for their alert eye, attentive mind, vigilant heart, all fused into a single, sometimes painfully aware, vision of the world. Bristling with narrative surfaces, angular emotional interiors, humorous sympathies, her poems move in careful zigzags, like a bat. Her politically astute voice knows, understands, and without sentimentality embraces a universe of ordinary lives and unsung places—celebrating women’s work, or her daughter’s rapt in-taking of all that is new to her, or the nature of ‘Poetry in America,’ or the existential texture of Mennonite life, or simply sun flashing on a spider’s thread, a blade of grass, / my own tanned skin. Plainspoken, both intimate and discreet, these poems take hold.”