When winter gets too cold and you find yourself daydreaming of the slow heat of a late summer day, I suggest making some tea and curling up with Sarah J. Sloat’s “In the Voice of a Minor Saint” for a warm buzz.
A persuasive collection of poetry, Sloat hooks you in, opens a window and beckons you to climb through. “Opportunity” leaves you hungry for more with lines like
For a second the radio wavered between stations / and I was so busy making myself marvelous.
Sloat manages to be bound to both the reality of the mundane, like trips to the gas station and morning coffee, with poems like “Pursuit” and “Shady” but then shines when she makes the mundane magical. In the poem, “Grasslands”, Sloat discusses fertility and waiting;
When I could not get with child I swallowed the egg of the meadowlark who eats the daylight, the mother of untangled grasses.
There is a slowness to the overall tone of this book, but the intention is not stagnation, but rather savoring moments and details. The book’s title poem demonstrates this attention to detail that makes you want to let each word melt in your mouth again and again,
My heart is small, like a love of buttons or black pepper.
My favorite poem appears next to last and truly showcases Sloat’s ability to be both gentle and dreamlike, as well as a fiery instigator for movement. “Ghazal of the Bright Body” unravels its message with increasing speed and ends with,
I dream joy’s a cheetah on a highway I pull off, ditch my keys and run with it.
Sloat does what she does best in this collection of poems – she gently compels the reader to slow down and digest the small things, observe life’s tiny influences and then realize they are the biggest after all.
In the Voice of a Minor Saint by Sarah J. Sloat was published by Tilt Press and can be purchased from their website. Review written by Laura E. Davis.