"I am learning to allow for visions," the primary speaker of The Trailhead announces, setting out through a landscape populated by swan-killers, war torturers, and kings. Much of the book takes place in the contemporary American West, and these poems reckon with the violence inherent in that place. A "conversion narrative" of sorts, this book examines the self as a "burned-over district," individual and cultural pain as a crucible in which the book's sibyls and spinsters are remade, transfigured. "Sacralization is when things become holy, also when vertebrae fuse," the book tells us, pulling at the tensions between secular and sacred embodiment, exposing the essential difficulty of being a speaking woman. The collection arrives at a taut, gendered calling—a firm faith in the power and worth of the female voice—and a broader faith in poetry not as a vehicle of atonement or expiation, but as bulwark against our frailties and failings.
Wesleyan University Press
Webster, Kerri, "The Trailhead" (2018). Faculty & Staff Authored Books. 489.