What I Would Say if We Were To Drown Tonight, by Sharla Yates, Stranded Oak Press, Bunky's Books

What I Would Say if We Were To Drown Tonight, by Sharla Yates

Stranded Oak Press
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Poetry, chapbook, 40 pages, from Stranded Oak Press.

"The question at the center of Sharla Yates' beautiful new chapbook—'How do you brace yourself with no absolutes except this body?'—introduces us to a speaker filled with inquiry and yearning, regret and resolve. In letter poems and poems of direct address, we greet the newborn child, the uncle dying of AIDS, the old beloved and the new. We eavesdrop on intimacies—a mother recounting for her son his origin story, the death of a wild animal in the cold rushing water of Oregon’s Umpqua River, a woman climbing into the winter coat that belonged to her lover’s dead wife. In each, we sense weariness and skepticism, ('What if there is nothing after amen?') alongside an uneasy sort of faith: 'I tell myself/that there is beauty in sad endings.' Yates' voice is meditative, her imagery fresh and her syntax surprising. This is a quiet, yet richly textured collection that considers our most important connections and questions with insight and clarity. A very fine debut by a talented poet."

-Sheila Squillante

Sharla R. Yates lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by way of the Pacific Northwest. Her story, “Address,” was the finalist for the 2016 Penelope Niven Award in Creative Nonfiction and publication is forthcoming in Fifth Wednesday Journal. Her fiction and poetry are published in Albatross, Lynx Eye, The Boiler Journal, Hartskill Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Shadowgraph Quarterly, and Pretty Owl Poetry. Her poetry manuscript What I Would Say If We Were To Drown Tonight was a finalist for the 2015 Villa Paper Nautilus contest. She is the Editor in Chief of The Crawl Space Journal.