THE BOOK: Somewhere Piano.
PUBLISHED IN: 2012
THE AUTHOR: Sarah Sadie (Sarah Busse)
THE EDITOR: Judith Kerman
THE PUBLISHER: Mayapple Press. Mayapple is a small, independent press. They celebrate literature that is both challenging and accessible: poetry that transcends the categories of “mainstream” and “avant-garde”; women’s writing; the Great Lakes/Northeastern culture; the recent immigrant experience; poetry in translation; science fiction poetry.
SUMMARY: Somewhere Piano is a collection of lyric poems that explore themes of motherhood, desire, domesticity and ordinary/extraordinary life moments. Eggs and pianos.
THE BACK STORY: Somewhere Piano was my first full-length collection, a milestone in the career of any poet. I’m grateful to Mayapple for giving my book a way out into the world. When I wrote the poems in Somewhere Piano my children were quite young. I found that their interests and fascinations became my own. The world of small children is in no way small.
WHY THIS TITLE?: The piano appears and reappears throughout these poems. Music is ever present in my life from the time I was a child all the way through to now as my own children are growing up. The piano in my house is tall, black, an upright presence. Again and again, I was drawn to it like a magnet. And inevitably the sound of a piano echoes down through memory, ricocheting off the walls of the mind. The phrase “Somewhere piano” was originally meant to suggest a distantly heard music. But the more I looked at it, the more I wondered, what if there was an instrument called a “Somewhere Piano”? What kind of sound would it have? What music would it play, and for whom?
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It is one woman’s attempt to tell the truth (her truth) (some truth) about being a mother, having small children, what kind of pressures and questions that delivers. Occasionally when I give a reading from this book, I will have women come up to me afterward, nodding, That is how it is. You found the words. I take that as the biggest compliment I could get. So, people who are mothers should read it to see some piece of themselves mirrored and made space for. Everyone else should read it to have a window into the otherwise unknowable and inexpressible.
Strike motherhood off the list of sentimental subjects. This resonant, intelligent debut reminds us that “spring is a burning season” and how fierce family breakfast can be on either side of the kitchen window. Sarah Busse fills the branches of these poems with eggs, birds, and other emblems of latency and desire, and her rhymes call beautifully from line to line, but predators lurk in the underbrush.
-Lesley Wheeler, author of Heterotopia and The Receptionist and Other Tales
Sarah Busse’s elegant first book, Somewhere Piano, is filled with music: birdsong that startles from sky and branch, pianos deftly struck in practice or performance, and the sound of human voices, especially those of mother and children, heard in surprised response to the world’s grief and wonder. Busse’s words are entirely original, as accessible as a neighbor’s, yet unique and captivating: “summer’s vowels” are like “a blues refrain,” “the body of a house…wavers and avers,” and the world surrounding us—a place of “trembling and fertility, choices made and/here is a life”— transforms survival, at least briefly, into joy. Restless, wise, and vulnerable, Somewhere Piano asks us to listen carefully, and repays our close attention with poems of lasting force. —Ned Balbo, author of Lives of the Sleepersand Galileo’s Banquet
Poetry can let our passion of life be known. “Somewhere Piano” is a collection of poetry from Sarah Busse who brings forth a refreshing and insightful collection of thought and verse. “Somewhere Piano” is a very much fun read that shouldn’t be overlooked for contemporary poetry collections. “Love Muddies the Water”: Love muddies the water,/troubles it like we hoped God/would with his big stick,/turns what was quick/and cold and free to clot/and mire. I love you. Glub, glub./Caught in too many tangles made/of old bones, old blinks,/no one knows what to do/with this bad star, drug/trip from which we never return/(not to mention the birds)/and rainbows at surprising angles. Midwest Book Review February 2013
AUTHOR PROFILE: Sarah Busse changed her name somewhere along the way to Sarah Sadie, and published another couple of books Do-It-Yourself Paper Airplanes (Five Oaks Press) and “We are traveling through dark at tremendous speeds.” (Lit Fest Press). She also started a business as a certified Kaizen-Muse creativity guiddess and Qoya dance teacher, and all of these facets and aspects are beginning to fit together, believe it or not. She writes, dances, coaches, teaches, and works 1:1 with women and men to help them identify and pursue their creative passion and wonderment in a world that really needs it.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I wrote these poems in an attempt to write some kind of truth about an aspect of life that is too often either overly sentimentalized or overlooked. I wanted to explore the intensity and emotional layerings that happen within the young family. It seemed worth doing.
SAMPLE POEMS (See also Sarah’s Amazon page).
PRESCRIBED BURN IN A PRAIRIE REGION
Where I live, spring is a burning season.
It appears in patches around town: here
a stretch of ditchbank, there someone’s backyard.
Big, hand-lettered signs on the curb reassure,
“Prescribed Burn Today.” This is planned.
This is safe fire. And when it is done, in the space
of an afternoon, the field is flat and soot.
These days new leaves cup the sun’s light
and let it spill so that it too seems young,
completely breakable, already broken.
My daughter sings in her carseat
Twinkle little little star
Wonder wonder wonder are
Give up whatever burnt offering you are
but recall also the speeding ticket received
on this road just months ago. Go slow
(everything happens at once) as you drive past
the silver sliver spears of brand new grass
already hatched to catch light, already
chuffing their heat.
Silent conflagration, perpetual
blessing, perpetual fire at 25 miles per hour.
I write, Desire is my home town
and coffee spills, spreading its sepia
stain over maples and apples, or maybe
it’s tent caterpillars, their sticky love,
love, where roots of centuried trees
push year by year the sidewalk paving squares
further into their odd and hazardous angles.
Unpicked fruit stains the walks,
calls bees and flies, and makes a kind of honey.
We’re all at one remove or more, but here we are.
Somewhere piano. Laughter through a wall. An empty stage,
overstuffed chairs left from the last production.
You have to feel for it,
to know what brings us out again and finally to this hilltop,
gazing at folded quiltwork fields and Springfield Road,
a traintrack stitched across the heart’s own ground
where now they’re putting up houses, houses, houses.
Stay a minute. See
those rolling hills, the freight train whistling through,
and summer’s vowels like a blues refrain.
No one knows me quite like you.
This morning a flock of flickers—flash of red,
flash of yellow at my feet—rose and flew
past the blue turkey-foot, the prairie dropseed.
The grasses nodded their purple heads, bronzed,
lazy in their affirmations… until the wind blew.
How fast the wheel turns, love, in the corn-colored
light of September. The feathered heart stirs,
seeing how sumac flares, how the honey locust
shivers down its gold and gilds my driveway—
a school of minnows diving, or, if the eye blurs,
the shimmy of a yellow dress to the floor
and where are you to be found—in the slow pour
of strong coffee, the smoky stars that reel invisible
over the city? My children toss leaves up to see them
leap and fall and leap again, laugh and beg for more.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I’d love to hear from readers and interested people. You can find me at odonatacreative.com or email me at sarahsadie[at]atodonata[dot]com.