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  • Flatlands

    Ruth Williams

    Some writers approach the Nebraska plains as a big, empty other into which they may imagine. I understand the appeal of that mythology. But in Ruth Williams gorgeous new collection, Flatlands, the landscape is as alive as the plains truly are, and serves as both a generating place and quixotic companion to Williams's subtle, precise speaker. Throughout the poems, Williams images are beautifully wrought and full of surprises: a salmon being filleted opens like “a girl’s coral dress come undone,” and the "night heat” of spent fireworks sleeps in the hands of children who are “ready to knock.” I love this book—it’s musical syncopation, the tight, clean transparency of the poems’ lines. I think Willa Cather, the collection's genius loci, would admire Williams’s work, recognizing its fundamental truthfulness. Which is about the highest compliment I have to give.

    —Erin Belieu, Author of Slant Six, Co-founder, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts

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