Winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize
Art by Katie Musolff
“The idea/ of heaven is ridiculous and comforting/ and full of misdirection,” Angela Voras-Hills writes, and in Louder Birds the idea of America is similarly complicated. The America of this book feels Upper Midwestern—a place of cornfields, casseroles, bake sales, and ice fishing, yes, but also a place where we find the “sweet nesting of storks/on the phone-pole beside the landfill,” a place where birth and decay are inextricably linked. Reading Louder Birds—inhabiting its landscapes, both external and internal—reminds me of what poems can do.
—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
Angela Voras-Hills' Louder Birds is a wondrous book, one that draws us, irresistibly, into a world where we confront the tangled consequences of yearning and innocence. Rarely is such a close and careful watching of the world coupled with such a hungry willingness to “tear into it like bread.” Just as ice fishermen hoist “pike up through icy holes—their shiny bodies struggling as they are pulled by their lips into sky,” so too do these fierce and fecund poems tug me, palpably, toward transcendence. I’m reminded of the ache and splendor of living as a body in this world, that the only heaven we’re promised is the one we have here.
—Michael Bazzett, author of The Interrogation
In Angela Voras-Hills' Louder Birds there are disasters we can name and the ones still awaiting a language. These poems survey the Midwestern landscape where roadkill fills in the cracks of a street, blood is forever brightening the snow, and the natural world is always ripe with its merciless hungers. Voras-Hills knows how to tear into a day like bread, to dwell in those moments of being where her lyric lines slip through memory's flexible time. Though these poems take on difficulties and even tragedies, I am consoled by the wisdom in every line that asks—unflinchingly—what it means to make a life in such precarious and miraculous bodies. Take this book and take heart. This poet knows the weight of every minute.
—Traci Brimhall, author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod