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Dummy Fire
Sarah Vap




Saturnalia
2007 • 88 pp. 6 illus. 5 1/2 x 7 1/2"
Poetry

$14.00 Paperback, 978-0-9754990-5-4



“A poetic image can touch the depths before it disturbs the surface, as Bachelard says. If we understand this principle, we’re ready to receive Sarah... [continued in Reviews below]”—Anna Journey, Blackbird

Winner of the 2006 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize selected by Forrest Gander, this is poet Sarah Vap's first full-length poetry collection.

Dummy Fire is a book full of surprises, its arms wide enough to encircle, it seems, all of creation, from the deeply personal to the existential. In Sarah Vap’s debut book a mother’s nose bleeds into tomato soup and a great blue heron is vivisected on a dinner table. There is nothing she is afraid to say. “Sarah Vap,” writes Forrest Gander, “combines an utterly unsentimental domestic tenderness with an attentiveness to the lives of plants and animals that never approaches ‘nature poetry’ because it never seems separated from that realm.” And Norman Dubie adds, “she is brilliant and something entirely new under our sun.”

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Reviews / Endorsements

“A poetic image can touch the depths before it disturbs the surface, as Bachelard says. If we understand this principle, we’re ready to receive Sarah Vap’s radical imaginative leaps in her debut poetry collection, Dummy Fire (winner of the 2006 Saturnalia Book Prize). In Vap’s poems, we encounter such surprises as a dress with the secret memory of a cow, and “pelvis-shaped clouds” that move over a snake-handler as he burns a tick off a snake. She writes often of mothers and sisters, landscapes and mystics, with a cowgirl-nervy wit balanced by tenderness. Throughout Dummy Fire, Vap raises questions about what is authentic and true versus what is fake or “dummy”—like trees witnessing a deliberate fire, or a mysterious nomad that may, or may not be, Santa.”—Anna Journey, Blackbird

“Dummy Fire is a riveting book, remarkable for its ferocious economy of form, its landscape-haunted, but wide-ranging field of reference, and its explosive implication. The poems often have the pressurized inventiveness of a curse or a protective spell and like a curse or spell, they lay bare the vulnerabilities of the body. Sarah Vap combines an utterly unsentimental domestic tenderness with an attentiveness to the lives of plants and animals that never approaches “nature poetry” because it never seems separated from that realm. With its laconic, purposively innovative adjustments of language, Dummy Fire stands out.” —Forrest Gander

“From the verses of gnostic antiquity to Whitman’s drawn chorus of lading, from winter wilderness to the dazzling volunteering imagery of her solitary voice, Sarah Vap startles again and again with a quiet, hermetic originality that American poetry has never successfully supported before—she is brilliant and something entirely new under our sun.”—Norman Dubie



Author Photo

SARAH VAP is the author of American Spikenard (University of Iowa Press, 2007), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, written after Dummy Fire but released the same year. She lives in Phoenix, AZ, where she teaches public schools for the Young Writers Program at Arizona State University.



Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:17:05 -0500