Gatherest's three elegant long poems (two of them sequences) reflect on the role of intimacy and place of nature amid the frenzy of contemporary life.
To not deny the heart, to not deny the head, to not deny the bewildering thread that stitches doubt to faith and ties heaven to earth—such is the work Sasha Steensen gathers to herself in this necessary and beautiful book, where the poems announce themselves as their “own / kind of worship.” Somewhere deep in the inward turn toward mind are those worries that reverse our attention back out into the world—not as idea or as ideal, but as the undeniable fact of what exists. Gatherest gathers that loving, needing-to-be-loved, mob of anxious affections into pages where the fundamental elements of life—water and fire, birth and death, plant and animal, grammar and disorder—turn thought’s terror tender. It is one thing to love a book (and this book I do); it’s another thing to realize a book has taught you something about love (and this book has). In these pages, “where cogito and coitus meet,” thinking returns to its ancient, intimate agony—where the one who says I is never alone, but is lovingly occupied by the various forms of care.
The Carolina Quarterly - Sometimes I like to think of the poem as a child. The poet gives a kind of birth to a kind of offspring, a word. As it was in the beginning, so it is with the poet, who begins the poem by putting down the word where before there was none. Now that there is one, there must be many. The word conditions the form and void—the page—on which it is written: all things are made by it, and without it was not any thing made that was made. It throws light on what darkness (what nothing) was there. In other words, the word is a light that makes. It does not show merely. Read more...