Poetry. "In 'Straw for the Fire,' Theodore Roethke writes that 'straw can feed a fire to melt down stone.' The poems in Heidi Lynn Nilsson's FOR THE FIRE FROM THE STRAW burn with this kind of metamorphic heat. They stun with their intricate troping, high lyricism, and restive God-hunger. They rove—ruthlessly, metaphysically, beautifully—through the realms of doubt, belief, marriage, motherhood, injustice, and transgression without ever once using their brilliant against the reader or resorting to oversimplified piety. Like Gerald Manley Hopkins, she makes manifest the complex human struggle, among other matters of faith, to 'not choose not to be': 'I've fought with God,' she writes in 'A Record of Loving Water,' 'to make myself. / I meant to be, for example, in the blond // breakfast hour, less like the dock / from which we all have looked, / insatiable, down.'"—Lisa Russ Spaar
"Heidi Lynn Nilsson's FOR THE FIRE FROM THE STRAW is a dark and strange extension, to paraphrase Tielhard de Chardin, of a spiritual being having a human experience. The voice reconciles sometimes sinister thoughts in a 'secular air' even as she seeks that ineffable from God, Jesus Christ, or the universe. Often shocking in their beauty and forthright worrying through religious experience, the poems sing like psalms. Partly confessing to a silent listener and partly serving as her own inquisitor, the speaker of these poems seems to be awaiting another force in the cosmos, unabashed beauty. Through she sometimes conjures an echo of Dickinson or her own Viking ruthlessness, Nilsson uses poetry for what poetry is for: the unexplained language that explains."—Sean Singer
Heidi Lynn Nilsson holds a B.A. in English and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Pleiades, American Poets, and The Academy of American Poets' New Voices anthology. Her chapbook, The Math of Gifts, won the Singer-Sargent Award in 2015. She teaches at The Salvation Army in Athens, Georgia, where she lives with her husband and three daughters.
Author City: Athens, GA USA