Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics

Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics

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Author: Selah Saterstrom 

Publisher: Essay Press (2017)

"Written over the course of sixteen years, Selah Saterstrom’s Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics is a celebration of what C.D. Wright called storytelling’s capability to “translate the world back into tongues.” Juxtaposing lyric essays and fragments with meditations on process, Saterstrom alchemizes minerals, prayers, screenplays, slaughterhouses, spiders, and sexual encounters. The result is an amulet disguised as a book that’s at once generous, rhizomatic, haunted, formally rangy, musical, and assured."

–Claire Donato

"In this remarkable book Selah Saterstrom, heir to a long line of divinatory women, invites us to the crossroads between writing and divination, or, reading. Whether she reads the cards, the rosary, a film, or a painting, her divinatory process is always a deep listening, through which she opens herself to “risk and disorientation.” The writing that results runs fluidly, freely, fearlessly through losses, terrors, mysteries, and passions. Saterstrom guides us, her readers, into her practices in order to unveil, and make available to us, writing as a celebratory and prayerful act, as ecstatic song. To read this book is to understand anew the exuberant possibilities of the word."

–Julie Carr

"I don’t know if poetry is prayer, but I do know that Selah Saterstrom has offered a divine answer to the deadening thrum of heteropatriarchal capitalistic poetry in Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics. These essays span the range of rhetorical modes while illuminating a regular practice of reaching toward (indeed celebrating, embodying) mystery. A line from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple kept repeating as I read this book: “They come to church to share God, not find God.” I never thought I’d say I want to go to church with someone, but I think I’ve just gone with Saterstrom and dammit all, it just might be saving me."

–TC Tolbert