What It Done to Us, by Essy Stone, is a poetry of narrative tension, sense of place, and with a wide-angle scan of lyrical language. There is a landscape here, the depiction of Appalachia, a beautiful backdrop of loves and struggles with violence, poverty and all its minions such as drugs and crime, and its religion. Stone has created a southern gothic for today . . . a testament, a collection that could be the mythology that we find at the intersection of flesh and spirit, or maybe it’s the reveal to a hard-times question like, “Why does the Devil get here faster than God every time?” This is a tough community that Stone, with a deft touch of empathy and eloquence, shows us, and we begin to know these folk. These poems are understated but highly charged vignettes from the hollers, a shadow world of the embattled folk who bear up and just do what needs done without apology. This is a stunning debut collection, and it is our introduction to an amazing poet, Essy Stone.
—Gary Copeland Lilley
About the Author
Essy Stone recently completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, but spent most of her life as a waitress in East Tennessee. Her poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, 32 Poems, and in The New Yorker.
AwardsWinner of the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2016
Memorable Fancy III.
The Angel spake unto me & said, how did you recover?
Did the sense just go away?
or spread in dust-storms like pulverized stone
or spread in droplets as though through osmosis
Californians, the helpful ones, acknowledge some bad trips
exist on earth even among colorwashed sunsets
fault lines with potential to swallow whole legislatures
my daddy’s hell lacks imagination
so damn him, let him suffer with the rest of us
Ophelia-everymen, just drowning in it
I am sorry for my sins
I do not believe in God—