What Enters The Mouth
By Sarah Jefferis
These are fearless poems–a reckoning of the violences of girlhood rendered with grit and clarity. What Enters the Mouth is a brave collection that wrestles with loss and pain, and strides beautifully into a power and wildness of womanhood that refuses to be contained.
– Ansel Elkins , author of Blue Yodel , winner of the 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition
Sarah Jefferis is an inventor, a truth teller, a fabricator, a witness. Like Dickinson, she dwells in possibilities. She constructs alternate lives [“I could have been my sister...my mother” or “My other body is the sea.”]. She’s “the other in the room.” If these stances seem contradictory, they are in the service of the deep mysteries of surviving and desiring. This book has a licked clean, all in, unreasonable, unafraid, incendiary, vulnerable and startling reckoning I admire.
– Bruce Smith , author of The Other Lover and Devotions
At times tender, at times raging, at times both, the poetry of Sarah Jefferis speaks to that which polite society, particularly the polite society of the South, prefers to ignore or demean as unspeakable. Here is a poetry of hunger and the strength to bear it, of love and the courage to live it, of wisdom and the vigilance to question it. Brave is too small a word. A skillful writer, Jefferis has gifted us a beautiful collection crafted with intelligence, wit, and transcendent hope.
– Jose A. Rodriguez , author of House Built on Ashes: A Memoir , and The Shallow End of Sleep
Forgetting the Salt
By Sarah Jefferis
In Forgetting the Salt origins meet with exhumations that wring from them their vital truths. In these poems, to remember is to want to forget, and tensions between formal and free verse define a line the poet walks from bondage to escape and expression. The nuclear family-severed-sets the stage for the human family's failings on a larger scale, yet there are redemptions of connection, of the telling itself. The last lines of these poems ring like clear bells.
– Cathryn Hankla Hollins University Professor
Forgetting the Salt is an astonishing collection of poems, packed with love and fury, irony and humor. Tough, urgent, surprising, these poems are both necessary and comforting.
– Maria Mazziotti Gillan Director of Creative Writing at SUNY Binghamton
Sarah Jefferis's poems in Forgetting the Salt combine dazzling metaphor with an undiminishable lyricism; here is a twenty-first century Romantic worthy of the calling. In her poems, one encounters a mind that dallies with the surreal, and yet always returns to terra firma. Like the poet Ai with whom she shares much, Jefferis's poems sparkle with their odd associations and radical suffusions--in one marvelous poem, a pyromaniac "harvests the sweet flames" as all is engulfed. In another lyric, we contemplate the gestation period of an elephant, finding in its protracted struggle our own rude calculus. Jefferis, thank goodness, astonishes as she delights; and yet, and always, there is a wise woman-centered sassy spirit. If she has traveled far from the church, she is never far from revelation. This is a stunning collection of poems--smart, elegant, and yes, fiery.
– Kenneth A. McClane W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Literature, Cornell University
Contributed to by Sarah Jefferis
Labor Day belongs on the nightstand next to What to Expect When You're Expecting. It's a must-have book for mothers, mothers-to-be, and anyone who cares about what birth looks like today.'
In Labor Day, you'll read about women determined to give birth naturally and others begging for epidurals; women who pushed for hours and women whose labors were over practically before they'd started; women giving birth to twins and to ten-pound babies.
These women give birth in the hospital, at home, in bathtubs, and, yes, even in the car. Some revel in labor, some fear labor, some feel defeated by labor, some are fulfilled by it―and all are amazed by it.
You will laugh, weep, squirm, perhaps groan in recognition, and undoubtedly gasp with surprise. And then you'll call every mother or mother-to-be that you know and say "You MUST read Labor Day."
"How I Lie to my Daughters." (Cimarron Review, Forthcoming Fall 2020)
- "This is Me Following," (Rhino, Spring 2016)
- "The Outward Visible Sign," Aperion Review (Spring 2016)
- “Bee Flat Sonnet,” The Moth (Summer 2014)
- “School Lunch,” “The Dentist,” and “At Fourteen,” Ithaca Lit (Summer 2014)
- “Motherhood,” “The Cake and The Chalice,” Stone Canoe (Winter 2014)
- “One-Eyed Ironing,” “Molding My Father,” and “Aural Lesson,” Ithaca Lit (Fall 2013)
- “Reincarnation,” The Healing Muse (Winter 2011)
- “Learning to Spell,” The Paterson Literary Review, (Spring 2011)
- Forgetting the Salt (Foothills Press, 2008)
- “I am No More or Less,” The Healing Muse (October 2007)
- “Birthday Poem for My Mother,” the Accomplice.org (Summer 2005)
- “Inhabit,” The Cream City Review (Fall 2005)
- “The Way to Attain,” The Comstock Review (January 2004)
- “Queen Size,” The Mississippi Review (March 2003)
- “Portrait,” Icon (Fall 2002)
- “Ishin Denshin,” The Hollins Critic (December 2001)
- “The Right-Tusked Dream,” The Mississippi Review (February 2000)
- “On A Curved Throne,” The Beacon Street Review (December 1999)
- “The Fisherman” Icarus (November 1999)
- “Morning Commute,” Perspectives on Multiculturalism and Diversity (Summer 1999)
- “It Will Fall Off,” The New Coin (1997)
- “A Poem for Catherine the Great,” “Freezer Burn,” The Naugahyde Literary Journal (Summer 1996)
- “Thinking of you,” “This is Not a Sex Poem,” The Naugahyde Literary Journal (Winter 1996)
- "Blood and Chocolate," in Laborday: True Birth Stories by Today's Women Writers. (FSG)
- "The Driving Lesson," The American Lit Review (Winter 2012)
- 2014: Saltonstall Fellowship (CNF)
- 2014: Bea Gonzalez award for poetry (Stone Canoe) 2012: Creative nonfiction visiting writer, Wells College