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EMC Reads: A Review of Wiregrass & Other Poems by MJ. Saucer

I had the good fortune of getting my hands on a copy of MJ Saucer’s Wiregrass and Other Poems, published and hand stitched by The Ethel Zine & Micropress. This is the second book I’ve been lucky enough to recieve from them, the first being a tiny, but punchy pamphlet by John Compton To Wash All The Pretty Things Off My Face, and I found myself once again blown away by the concept and craftmanship behind the book. The idea, and time it must take to hand design and hand stitch each on of these slim books is just staggering, and I’d encourage everyone to buy at least one book from Ethel Zine, if only to experience the delight of holding such a delicate and finely made piece of art in their hands.

The pamphlet itself took me by surprise. For some reason the title “wiregrass” evoked something masculine to me- khaki shorts, dry brush, safari, hunting, but I suppose that says more about my own preconceptions than it does the title. I was intrigued at first, then invariably drawn in to what I can only describe as a journey, sweltering, itchy, and full of longing, across a stretch of the deep south of the US.

nowhere soft / to curl up / like any animal would / and mourn / the death of the woman / that was me

The opening poem is a banger, thrusting the reader into the atmosphere of grief and regret that permeates the rest of the short collection. As the poems build and build upon themselves, the Saucer does not merely explore and lament, but also interrogates her oppressors, which are understood to be poverty, men, and the reality of life in the United States. Overall, this short pamphlet reads more like a memoir in verse than a collection, a recollection of grief, chronic pain, and the constant (and thankless) giving of women.

uncounted poems stuck in / the invisible canal, waiting / unable to be born

I did feel that a few of the pieces might have been better suited to the structure of a prose poem, heavy as they were with narrative, and the experimental poet in me would have done away with some of the punctuation, but perhaps that is just my preference. Overall, this small book was a delight to behold, and enlightening to read, as a call to compassion and solidarity to all those who suffer, and have suffered, in their bodies, in their solitude, in their sex.

Disclaimer: The EMC Reads book review series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.


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