Poetry Book Review – Dana Larkin Sauers Is An Angel Of Light Verse And Heavy Poetry

Between the Space of Grace and Gray is the first book of poetry by Dana Larkin Sauers, former poet laureate of Hanover, Pa. Sauers steps in from a world inhabited by beings that most of us never encounter, but only dream about. She is not an angel, but one could easily mistake her for one. Her irresistible charm comes across on the page as it does in person and it is a privilege to be able to read her verses or hear them being read.

One poem and you’ll be up all night. Between the Space of Grace and Gray is as smooth as a glass of root beer, just as in the words of her self-disclosed signature poem, aptly titled “Root Beer”:

A letter shouldn’t mean so much

but yours was like

a frosted detroit tigers hawaiian shirt of root beer

in July

up and over

onto the countertop

so lathered and sweet

the aftertaste was long.

Dana Larkin Sauers takes life’s sweetest moments and shares them as if on every page. She shows us that life is not all pretty dresses and daffodils in spring, but that life is about experience, pain, joy, suffering, and making our way through, not always unscathed, but always in tact and improved upon. She is genuine and passionate, intelligent, witty, and emotional. Lost innocence is a gem in her hands. Wisdom is more precious than a pearl and she has it all.

Between the Space of Grace and Gray is a self-publishing icon that one reads and re-reads and wonders why it wasn’t published by university press or a small press with greater clout. That it was published by Xlibris may be seen as a fault, but in this age of overabundance in verse, good poets sometimes must take matter into their own hands. That’s what Dana Larkin Sauers has done. She has taken her poetry into her own hands and produced a book of poems that is worth devouring over and over again.

Younger readers may not always relate to her images and metaphors, but older readers will love her. This collection of 39 poems makes us nostalgic for a time when faith was admired completely, but allows us to bask in the reality of today’s postmodern realities with the knowledge that not all is black and white. Between the Space of Grace and Gray is modest, imaginative, and moral. As Michael Hoover says in the Foreword, “By paring her own life down to its smallest part, this poet invites us to peel away our own layers of gray to better see the grace within bursting to escape in perpetual song.” Amen, and Amen!

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