The Falls

The Falls

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Author: Emily Mohn-Slate

Publisher: New American Press (2020)

"The poems in The Falls dive down and emerge with the treasures of a deep interior life. A connection with the idiosyncratic and fiercely passionate poet Charlotte Mew offers a key to Mohn-Slate's appreciation for the wildness that can lurk beneath social oppression, and the necessary freedom of expressive art."

–April Bernard

"The Falls by Emily Mohn-Slate is a courageous book teeming with honesty and rage. These poems risk writing motherhood in wildly unpopular ways, telling the truth of mother as 'woman, ' mother as 'human.' Mohn-Slate breaks the code of the status quo with slicing precision and line breaks that cut in perfect seams. This feminist voice seethes with desire, like the woman who is drawn to the falls: I wanted/to touch beauty. It was like/a tornado pulled me in. Even while the hand of something immense hangs above, Mohn-Slate breathes a love of all things. She believes anyway, she forges ahead into the red worlds of her beloved Charlotte Mew, her guide beyond the grave, who tells her: Red is the strangest pain to bear. The skillful restraint in the speaker's voice raises the stakes—this is pragmatism over a well of fury. We get the details, but we feel the fire beneath. In the midst of all of this living, Mohn-Slate is a fierce romantic—wanting what's right and real, even as she sees the traps and tangles of the prices paid. She's going in—and we, lucky readers, get to follow her."

–Jan Beatty 

"In The Falls, Mohn-Slate crafts rooms to play out the large-scale tragedies and the seemingly small moments, and is so very good at finding the place where the two meet, sing out, and then part ways again. With lush and precise language, we're repeatedly faced with the question: how do we live alongside others without disappearing from the world ourselves? Her voice is candid, collected, and surprising. It's a balance we desperately need to help make sense of our lives."

–Sara Gelston

"If there was ever a book to show us the utility of poems, their tough uses, their possibilities as tools—as knives or needles—it is The Falls by Emily Mohn-Slate. In this book, she shows us how poems organize and define a life, give it shape and meaning, and how poetry has the power to render cataclysm or disappointment into art. Mohn-Slate is a master-describer, and these poems show us how the lived life with its losses, loves, burdens and joys, when contained in the civilizing bounds of verse, becomes graspable, and the poem becomes something to be taken up and used. This is a startling book and an important and memorable debut."

–Mark Wunderlich