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Two tragic events haunt this powerful first collection—the kind of events that “change the alignment/ of every season after” and tear open vast absences in a life. Alison Prine bravely explores those absences here, engaging in the struggle to make something “immune to ruin” out of what is broken and to mend the connections severed by death, even while acknowledging the inability of language to fill the void left by loved ones or to find easy answers. “This isn’t consolation,” as she says in one poem. Instead, poem by poem, she makes a dwelling for herself and the reader, “building from the inside” while remaining attuned to the possibility of correspondences in the outside world. And through the quiet urgency of her voice, she finds “a secular way of praying.” This book is a blessing.
– Jeffrey Harrison, author of Into Daylight and judge of the 2014 Cider Press Review Book Award
In Alison Prine’s elemental, lapidary poems, place is transposed, and time moves recursively. The past infuses the present with such unrelenting clarity that the result is a startling and richly potent consolation.
– Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home
“I like to be at the edge of open waters,” Alison Prine writes in “City of Bridges,” and Prine’s poems share her affinity for the liminal, the weather-swept, and the vast. Even as she studies the significance of our smallest gestures toward and away from one another, Prine’s scope is the wide sweep of a life, and its defining griefs and desires. Prine’s vision is tender and precise, and her voice is no less fierce for its quality of quiet. These are intimate, necessary poems in which language is the vital blood that circulates through our most important questions.
– Karin Gottshall, author of The River Won’t Hold You
STEEL is a work of memory and reverie. Both precise and transcendent, Alison Prine’s poems take us on journeys recollected and imaginary and full-throttle into unfamiliar terrain. Her language is musical and her eye is sharp. This is a memorable, remarkable book.
– Laura Kasischke, author of Space, in Chains