The Great and Terrible

About the Book:

In The Great and Terrible, Natalie Byers seamlessly weaves together the narrative and the lyrical to bear witness to tragedies most people would prefer stayed safely locked away—childhood abuse, a brother’s murder, and the trauma adult survivors must learn to endure. Beginning with poems of poverty and ending with forgiveness as an act of freeing oneself, Byers’s voice is both vulnerable and brutally honest, daring us to do anything other than pay attention to the man behind the curtain. There is no pretense, no dilution in order to make uncomfortable subjects clean and pretty and safe. Natalie Byers writes poetry that matters. —Sara Burge, author of Apocalypse Ranch

If you put your ear to the track you can here her ‘silvery steel, / [her] ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, / shuttling at [her] sides’ in the poems of Natalie Byers; here comes the Sister of the Dead to make you run or lay down between the tracks and watch her entire world pass over you. These poems make a fun house of human psyche with a history of laughter that might dissolve into white-knuckled 70s cinema American Horror. All the while the poet pirouettes at the end of a cul-de-sac, the swan looks at her shadow across the lake in a late sun, and has the gall to whisper pleasantries to the growing shadow. The Great and Terrible is a dazzling display of an American poet just now … maybe … absolutely … ready to speak across a dark history that ends in a sunrise. —Ian Bodkin