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Poetry. HAD SLAVES by Catherine Sasanov is winner of the inaugural Sentence Book Award, which goes annually to a manuscript consisting entirely or substantially of prose poems or other hard-to-define work situated in the grey areas between poetry and other genres—work that promotes the mission of SENTENCE: A JOURNAL OF PROSE POETICS to extend the conception of what the prose poem is or can be. Written out of Sasanov's discovery of slaveholding among her Missouri ancestors, and the fragmented evidence left behind of the eleven men, women, and children held in their bondage, HAD SLAVES pieces together lives endured from slavery to Jim Crow across a landscape lost beneath big box stores, subdivisions, and tourist sites. Avoiding Gone with the Wind stereotype, Sasanov takes her readers to slavery's less expected locale: where big house means log cabin and plantation is a small grain farm with tarantulas mating in the corn. An unflinching look at a stumbled-upon past set in motion after finding the words, HAD SLAVES.
author sitereview by Ellen SteinbaumEileen Tabios @ Galatea ResurrectsJosh Cook @ Bookslut
Catherine Sasanov spent four years researching the lives of the Steele slaves of Southwest Missouri. She has authored two previous poetry collections, Traditions of Bread and Violence (Four Way Books) and All the Blood Tethers (Northeastern University Press), and the libretto for Las Horas de Belén: A Book of Hours, commissioned by Mabou Mines. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Mexico's National Fund for Culture and the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. Her journal publications include Pleiades, Field, Hotel Amerika, Agni, and Poetry. She lives in Boston. Author City: JAMAICA PLAIN, MA USA