Books

Winner of the 2015 Moon City Poetry Prize

In Sad Math, Sarah Freligh takes us for a ride through an American girlhood, a retrospective landscape of parking in cars and illicit kisses in a Donut Delite. Here, time is measured not only in days and years but in physical distance, a past that is understandable only when viewed through a rearview mirror. Along the way, there are not only losses, but also the accumulation of experience and the insistence of possibility.

“Sarah Freligh’s Sad Math is nothing less than a marvelous arc that captures and explores what it means for all sentient beings to age and find the unreasonable sum of years. Her feminist view heightens the notion of sacred disfigurement as we realize that language can never properly add or assess our grief. These stark poems are exposures that fade and yellow until her profane Kodacolor print becomes a kind of Giotto canvas, though a contemporary one where the man on TV ‘points to a red stain spreading across / a map and tells me it’s best to stay/ inside’.”

—Mark Irwin, author of American Urn: Selected Poems

 

“These are magnificent poems that never apologize or buckle even though they carry such spark and bite.”

—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Oceanic

“If a healthy Keats had lived in Brooklyn, preferably during the Fifties, he would have written about baseball instead of Grecian urns and nightingales. We don’t have Keats, but we do have Sarah Freligh, who knows baseball, knows the talk, the poetry of the talk, and the game itself as a kind of poetry: swift, elegant articulations of motion, power, and speed. No one writes this well about baseball purely from imagination, and Freligh’s experience as a sportswriter serves her well, though her poems are as far from mere reportage as Keats is from Grantland Rice. If you love either baseball or poetry, you’ll love Sort of Gone; if you love them both, you’ll be sending copies to friends.”

—B.H. Fairchild, author of The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems


Winner of the 2012 Accents Publishing Editor’s Choice Award

“In A Brief Natural History of an American Girl, Sarah Freligh pulls you into the car of a 1950’s girlhood and you stay, compelled by the journey through sexual awakening and into womanhood. It’s a difficult story. The narrator loses a lot–she gives kisses to the boss at Donut Delite, her virginity to a boy in a cornfield, her body to men she knows, or doesn’t. She gives away a baby. She buries her mother. And hope, ‘how easy to give her away.’ And yet not quite. Through the accumulation of experience, through the ability to look clearly and name what she sees, Freligh insists on possibility. The poems draw our attention, then elicit a shiver of recognition. This is what one girlhood looks like; this is what human experience looks like. The journey is not over, she reminds us. You ‘are not there yet.’”

—Wendy Mnookin, author of Dinner with Emerson