Fence Books, 2009

Coldfront’s Best New Books of Poetry 2009
Coldfront’s Best Second Books of Poetry 2009

Purchase through:
Barnes & Noble

Stranger delivers a lot of what makes poetry vital: complexity of emotion, supernatural language, a sense of intelligence that bolsters the sparseness of Sims’s lines…Stranger is a heroic collection of poems that will appeal to many readers.”

“This is a death whose presence and particulars are felt and inscribed, and which achieves an agency, a purview, a resistance. We feel the loss from all angles, even as Sims’ episodic, quicksilver narrative moves up and through a mother’s life and its incompletion, her apprehension in the face of death, a surviving child’s guilt and the adult child’s attempts at comprehension of who/what the mother is, now that she’s gone. In the end there is a hopeful hopelessness in approaching eternity. Laura Sims’ delicacy and agility are equal to her forbearance, and all are up to the remarkable task of recounting a life and afterlife.”
—Penn Book Center

“The poetic story reaches beyond earthly life into the theme of an afterlife in this unforgettably poignant collection.”
Midwest Book Review

“Poems both terse and raw. They’re rather like blurry close-ups of the most beautiful kind.”
—Read Write Poem

“Though the poems in Stranger are often elusive, they never fail to leave the reader with a clear, emotional meaning. We feel a certain way, though we don’t know exactly how we arrived at the feeling. It’s the same with grieving, sadness or regret – we cannot retrace our steps, but we can filter hints, whispers.”

“Sims’ book, with its almost-narrative of stutters, breaks, and false starts, is an attempt to make sense of the literally unthinkable, and the implication of one’s own mortality…As such Sims takes up the responsibility given in such events, to write what little that can be written… One is never sure what can come from death, if anything; but here there is something, and it comes, quietly, and with a beauty.”
Tarpaulin Sky

“’Only that which does not cease to hurt remains in memory,’ says Nietzsche. That’s not to say that we can’t remember comfort or love, but it might be to say that such things have to be stung into our minds by comfort’s failures, love’s exits. ‘No one’s gonna save your life,’ sings Wire’s Colin Newman; too true, but maybe someone will remember you. And yet even as memory preserves us, its inevitable elements of blank ensure that death retains an ever-painful (and occasionally laughable) strangeness. In and with those elements, Laura Sims has written these memorable elegiac shards.”
—Graham Foust

“In Stranger, Laura Sims enters the territory of the irreconcilable, where the intimacy that lies deepest in us– ‘Alive with its absence’– remains event or entity that “Dissent cannot undo.’ Yet Sims responds to the necessary and unbearable dilemma of loss with the revivifying intimacies of language: ‘The world/ In the zero/ Held/ For a moment.’ ‘There is no such thing as a copy,’ the poet rightly insists, and yet her lucid language plumbs, recalcitrant and fierce, into experience that we all know. or will. There is no more adept or trustworthy guide into this terrain.”
—Elizabeth Robinson

copyright © Laura Sims 2017 / website by Noah Saterstrom