Introduction By

William Kloefkorn

Document Type


Publication Date



Susan Strayer Deal’s language is sanded, paint-stripped, and polished to airy and remote simplicity, as though language itself must be kept spare and light to survive the Nebraska landscape from which she writes. But for all the spare language, the poems have a natural weight that keeps them earth-bound and necessary. The poems are not simply about the landscape, or the poet’s experience of it, but about how the mind and soul operate like the prairie: starkly, relentlessly. This was Deal's first collection of poetry, published in 1980 by Ahsahta Press; The Dark is a Door followed from Ahsahta in 1984.