Introduction By

Don Welch

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Susan Strayer Deal’s collection The Dark Is a Door is an austere work born of Nebraska’s dry prairie landscape. The ferocity of seasons—the bone-dry summer heat, the relentless indifference of winter—and the ever persistent scouring of prairie winds lead to a land, and a poetry, stripped of adornment. It is a landscape of distances where the animate and inanimate are not easily distinguishable, the hard ground converging with whatever might move upon it. Deal’s poetry pulls shape from this vastness, a quiet attestation of the poet’s commitment to seeing what is there, to define from dark earth forms and images of concentrated brilliance.