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American Spikenard

Overview

2006 Iowa Poetry Prize winner

“If everyone decided to call themselves a girl / that word would stop.” In this award-winning volume of authoritative and assertive poems, Sarah Vap embarks on an emotional journey to the land of America’s female children. Questioning, contradicting, radically and restlessly demanding acceptance, she searches for a way to move from serious girlhood to womanly love. Demonstrating the seriousness of female childhood—which is as dangerous and profound as war, economics, and history, ...

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American Spikenard

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Overview

2006 Iowa Poetry Prize winner

“If everyone decided to call themselves a girl / that word would stop.” In this award-winning volume of authoritative and assertive poems, Sarah Vap embarks on an emotional journey to the land of America’s female children. Questioning, contradicting, radically and restlessly demanding acceptance, she searches for a way to move from serious girlhood to womanly love. Demonstrating the seriousness of female childhood—which is as dangerous and profound as war, economics, and history, that is, as manhood, in her view—Vap reveals the extremes of self-doubt and self-righteousness inherent in being a contemporary American girl.
“When we’re overcome / by everything we think we love—then by morning / we’re adults.” Just as the oil of American spikenard may provide relief from childhood, so does Sarah Vap provide the kind of holy and extravagant love and honor that can relieve the growing pains of “everyone’s little girl.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Sarah Vap’s poems are stunningly voiced, bristling with drive and energy. Her rich and inhabited landscapes thrive on her tough, relentlessly probing, questioning, and wide-ranging diction. American Spikenard is like one long poem, a poet’s coming to terms with identity and history in a quest to be acknowledged for exactly who she is.”—Ira Sadoff, author Barter

“For those ready to explore the glitter and scars of girlhood, Sarah Vap’s first book is ‘saying, for the sake of integrity, the dearest things.’ Here, in poems in which the ancestors are often made of glass, we find shattered, luminous bedtime stories steeped in vulnerability. At turns sly and direct, American Spikenard summons ghosts and dolls, dogs and ponies, the snotty baby Jesus and holy birthday parties. A beautiful, weird collection that holds the promise of intimacy and the provocation of mystery.” —Arielle Greenberg, author  My Kafka Century

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587295355
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Series: Iowa Poetry Prize Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Vap grew up in Missoula, Montana. She received her MFA in poetry from Arizona State University in 2005 and currently teaches creative writing at Phoenix College and in the Phoenix public schools for ASU’s Young Writers Program. Her work has been published in Field, the Denver Quarterly, the Colorado Review, and Natural Bridge. She is currently a poetry editor for the online journal 42opus.
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