Praise for Bruised Gospel

“Bruised Gospel does the work of unraveling in language the experience of being a mind and a body moving through the world — a consciousness spiraled out into the song of the poem — through seasons internal and external. Poems excavated from a life lived.

It’s Escue’s particular sound that binds the poems, in all of their various forms and figurations, together. Her ear, when it needs to be, is as crisp and as sharp as Lorine Niedecker’s: ‘raw season / of fish gut / pink rot // rain petals / & rockweed.’

While this is a debut chapbook, it feels like it’s always been a part of the conversation. The work rings with a voice that has found its pitch and reach — brilliant and vital. Listen.”

—Joseph Massey, Illocality and To Keep Time


“This is the poetry of pressure, uncontainable lyrics so tightly constructed they explode through a world injured and marked by its injuries, but healing and filled with the most wondrous light.”

—Jay Hopler, The Abridged History of Rainfall and Green Squall


Bruised Gospel is a fractured landscape of syllable and body, of song and silence. Here, we encounter language that transcends narrative as it attempts to disrupt symbols and bodies from simple definitions. To survive in this sonic kingdom is to feel the holiness of the lyric, fraught and unyielding. This is a brilliant debut from an astonishing poet.”

—Chelsea Dingman, Thaw


“If, in this unfolding new year, I can find the faith to pray again, it will be a bruised prayer, and if I find the voice to share the good news, it will be a bruised gospel. Sarah Escue’s poems are a flame on my tongue, a hymn to unity.”

—J’lyn Chapman, Beastlife and Bear Stories


“Through permutations of the elements into language, the generation of sentience submerged into matter, and the alchemy of decay, the incantatory lyrics of Bruised Gospel find “rebirth through refuge,” taking up “again this body / occupied by many mouths,” becoming “glass shattered,” or dissolving, however transiently, ‘into this tilted hour.’”

—Jonathan Simkins, Creatonism and This Is The Crucible


“Greet the reader with dead birds,

superimposed on brittle pink,

imaging a future of flight.

Sarah Escue’s Bruised Gospel takes notes from Sylvia Plath, weaving baskets out of broken thatch, making, as Ted Hughes said, a toy out of a misshapen chair, reclaiming identity through deconstruction. She writes the image at the edge: of birth and death, of plain and forest, water and shore. Writing in the tilt of summer, slit silver bellies of fish, wild and natural, unkempt and bright. Like stardust in the alpine dew, Bruised Gospel proclaims the potential of natural sediments, the reworking of potential into energy, kinetic, as in, to give birth to a calf, picking up dead lines and branches to weave a wreath, a collage, a photograph, a poem. This is a deep dig into the muck, raising a colossus, female, wanting a name for everything; these poems, where her body holds a secret— always becoming.”

—Robert Eric Shoemaker, We Knew No Mortality and 30 Days Dry