kconlow's blog

Heather Derr-Smith's THRUST

Thomas Simpson

Heather Derr-Smith’s fourth collection Thrust, winner of Persea Books’s Lexi Rudnitsky Prize, is a volume of exorcism and ecstasy, of violence and desire. It takes her out of some of her earlier work’s terrain—the refugee camps of Syria and Bosnia-Herzegovina—and into ruins far closer to home: the American South, where her speaker was conceived in distinctly American sin. The broken lines of her opener, “Hide Out,” hint that what’s to come is lethally perverse. It’s the only sort of warning we get before the speaker takes us by the hand into the wilderness of eastern Virginia (“all of it battlefield”), where an overpowering older boy “made for coming like a second coming” sexually abuses her as a child.


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