Monday, August 12, 2013

Mary Harwell Sayler Reviews NATURAL THEOLOGIES by Denise Low for RATTLE

This is the beginning of a review in RATTLE, by Mary Harwell Sayler.  Quoted from the review:
"....I got to know the diverse [Midwestern] voices in this 'first critical study of contemporary Mid-Plains literature'—a book that includes much-admired poets and writers but also a wide range of Midwestern voices I had not previously heard. Denise Low obviously knows each of those voices well. Not only has she taught at various universities and won prestigious awards for her own books, she’s a fifth-generation Kansan, whose roots go as deep as prairie grasslands. More importantly, perhaps, her personal lineage of European and tribal peoples have given her a uniquely blended background for intelligently discussing relevant topics—from the landscape to the Lakota to the contemporary literary achievements of native Midwesterners."

This reviewer understands important threads of this project. Sayler continues:

"Taking cover under the book’s title, four sections come together in 'A Revised Frontier Literature' (with a variety of accomplished poets and writers, including Denise Low), 'Settlement. The Cities' (with Langston Hughes, David Ray, Mbembe Milton Smith, Stanley E. Banks), 'Hard Land, Strong Character' (William Stafford, Robert Day, Patricia Traxler, and others), and 'Natural Theologies,' which looks at 'Ted Kooser’s Poetics of Devotion,' the 'Poets in the Bible Belt' (Michael Poage, Jo Mcdougall, and Kathryn Kysar), and 'Louise Erdrich’s Magic Spells, Prayers, and Parables.' That fourth section drew me to the book, but touched on more than I’d imagined, such as how 'American Indian religions derive belief from specific sacred sites,' or how poems by Ted Kooser 'begin located in solid reality, but then surreal leaps occur. . . .'”
To continue reading, see   
For more information about the reviewer, see
To obtain a copy, see Amazon or Barnes & Noble or order from The Backwaters Press 
And thanks to the fine journal Rattle at