On Our Shelves Now (This book cannot be returned.)
Poetry. Susan Landgraf's book, WHAT WE BURY CHANGES THE GROUND is layered in history and the beauty of well-told stories. Here we enter into a world built from nature and narrative, nurture and nourishment--and her poems fill us. Landgraf's poems capture moments, whether it's the 'dirt under his nails / were filings from the moon' or a 'woman who wears midnight blue, ' we find ourselves captivated by her narration. In this poignant book, we turn the pages slowly because we are caught in the enjoyment in her poems; I imagine a reader holding this book in her lap: 'she had all the time in the world, as if / she didn't want this to end.' What a tender collection of poems, how lucky we are to have Susan Landgraf bringing her stories into the world.--Kelli Russell Agodon
Maybe it comes down to this: What are the restless stories that won't stay buried? In the title poem of this long awaited collection Susan Landgraf writes, 'People above ground don't remember the muck... / They forget the land could, / at any moment, heave.' Landgraf's inner seismometer knows when the land of the imagination and memory does just that and knows how to interpret the nuances of that movement. She further sets the tone for this collection in early poems like 'Outhouse' and 'Visiting the Painesfield Dump.' Sensitive to what others bury, leave in the darkness or cast away, she goes into and reports back from that darkness, forages in the dumping grounds, and reports what she finds there with a ruthless and scrupulous attention to detail. And yet it isn't just discord that interests this writer, but reconciliation, understanding. Even in the darkest poems about family dysfunction, for example, she sees those fragments of light that lead to forgiveness. Susan Landgraf is a poet worth traveling with.--Samuel Green
The poems in Susan Landgraf's collection, WHAT WE BURY CHANGES THE GROUND, literally have come from the earth. This is a story of family, and Landgraf is a master storyteller. The patriarch and matriarch of this family have the old world in their blood; they are a first generation European immigrant farming family that has settled their simple practical lives into post-war rural Ohio, and the seeds of family grow like the crops the grandfather planted, the old country ways are there and moving in this close look of the American story. Landgraf's narratives fit the pace and tone of a sturdy folk. The lyrical moments that Landgraf works in these poems reveal a truth found in the situations encountered in this time and place, and her choices of details in the poems are like footnotes to a family Bible.--Gary Copeland Lilley.