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November 06 , 2010

Fire in the Grass



LORRAINE VAIL’S book of poems, Fire in The Grass, is a page turner. Her centos are luminous, including “Cento on Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry 2006,” in one of her standout sections, “The State of Poetry.” “Heartbreak” embraces heart-wrenching poems such as “Last Afternoon at the House,” “September 11, Six Years Later” and the moving lines of “Grandmother”: ”I have traveled more than half-way past my life/ and realize now I was the/ granddaughter you never had.”

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JUANITA TORRENCE-THOMPSON, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, MOBIUS, THE POETRY MAGAZINE Author of New York and African Tapestries & Breath-Life

Lorraine Vail is a poet’s poet in her very important book, Fire in the Grass. Not only has she mastered the form of the centos, she has enlivened it with a bold approach: the book itself is a tribute to other voices, other visions. It is the very thing that we hope poetry can do and be.

But the marvel of Fire in the Grass isn’t in the pyrotechnics of craft, but in the burning clarity of Vail’s accessible language. Here are poems of longing, memory, of the most common of experiences. Lorraine Vail invites us to sit with her and listen. Yes, we hear the echo of the poets, but we also hear something quite familiar, perhaps something close to our own hearts, our own burning.

James Brock

Author of four books of poetry, including the forthcoming Gods & Money, Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Good poetry begins with observation and Lorraine Vail is a keen observer. She watches the beaches, the fields, the woodlands where she finds clues to life’s riddles which she shares with the reader in this smart collection of wonderfully accessible and finely crafted poems.

Peter C. Leverich, Editor, Avocet A Journal of Nature Poems

These poems clearly show what a first class poet Vail is. You will find grace, beauty, skill and wit in this collection. Go search these poems, look for what you need, for what she’s written is so brilliant, it will probably find you first.

Sidney B. Simon, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts
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