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"What does it mean to claim your space in a world that’s ending? Sarah M. Sala’s Devil’s Lake breaks open the American moment of unchecked gun violence, climate changes, and the growing rift between "us" and "them" with formal daring. Like a prism, this startling debut fractures into shades of possibility and memory, queering science, nature, and form to lay bare the colors of joy despite a world that seems intent on its destruction."
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Devil's Lake ripples with formal invention as Sarah M. Sala finds ways to talk about love. Her images are unadorned, her style telegraphic and surreal as she contends with the violences that endanger women and women's desire for each other. There's a dream logic at work in these restrained cries. In a poem that opens with domestic tenderness and makes a sudden swerve into unspeakable violence, the speaker ends by saying "The human heart weighs only as much as a can of Coke," a simile both ironic and visceral that captures here— as elsewhere in this vital debut— the cold heavy pressure of our contemporary moment.
--Catherine Barnett, author of Human Hours
It is so hard to stop reading these poems for all of their astonishing courage and beauty. Sarah Sala knows how to take the small gifts of our lives and fuse them together until we cannot believe the abundance! I am changed and very grateful to the poet. Devil's Lake shook me awake!
--CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death
These poems have a particular music to them that is deeply ethical and erotic. If there is an end then “at the end of the world, there is only/ whom you loved, and how you treated them.” For all of the forces arrayed against a “plush feeling of domesticity, that infinite fish turning inside,” the love described in Devil’s Lake is intent on continuing. That love, that sense of home, shimmers on every surface of this collection, even the most painful.
--Julia Guez, author of In an Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also a Frame
In Devil’s Lake, cosmological phenomena are set against transformations that are smaller in scale but, thanks to the poet's language and experimentation with poetic form, no less strange and prodigious. The threat of violence and predation is felt throughout; but ultimately the miracle of the book is that in its meditations on subjects as diverse as astronomy, memory, illness, childhood, and marriage, it attempts to transform fear into action, hatred and bigotry into love. Sala’s poems set out to find ways of being and loving and creating in an often hostile world.
--Geoffrey Nutter author of Cities at Dawn