Review #28: ‘Church of Needles’ by Sarah Sousa

  • PUBLISHED BY: Red Mountain Press, 2014
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu


Perhaps the secret to adult prayer has been this: the more concrete its particulars, the greater possibility of its actually being heard: “Invoke the chicken with feathered feet / and her chick, caught and shaken / by the dog till their necks broke. / Throw them over the fence. // Invoke the goat with meningeal parasites / nesting in its brainstem . . .” If there is such a thing as secular prayer, prayers that have accrued weight by welcoming worldly shadows both personal and collective, chewing on them, digesting them, before integrating them into our conscious existence, then that is what Sarah Sousa has accomplished here, sinking deep into the muck to work a spiritual aesthetic of a high rural order.

Disclosures: I first wrote the above as a blurb for Sarah Sousa’s debut, but rather than putting it on the back of her book, her press sequestered it inside the front cover!

Favorites: Slaughtering the Bull, To Stave Off Disaster, Post Pastoral.

Read Sousa at Tupelo Quarterly.