A Brief Review of Shana Youngdahl’s Winter/Windows

It’s a lovely thing to have the opportunity to talk about Shana’s chapbook Winter/Windows, which is about many things, but perhaps most centrally about bats and little girls. I want to start by just reading the first page of the second poem in the chapbook “Windows,” which I think will be more than enough for you to realize you should go online immediately after this event and have one of these beautiful little books shipped to you from Belgium.


The whole book is like this: lush, deft, gorgeously intelligent, unremittingly intimate. And that word, intimate, reminds me of the other thing I want to say, which is about chapbooks. Chapbooks originate in the early modern period and are a form of cheaply produced printed matter: they were sold by peddlers who traveled across England during a time when literacy was growing but bound books were still expensive. Chapbooks were and are brief, one signature, saddle-stich affairs with paper covers, relatively easy and inexpensive to make and to distribute. Chapbooks have had a bit of a resurgence in the world of contemporary poetry in recent years in part out of a desire to return to something like that alternative model of distribution and production: something more personal and less commercial than the trade presses can offer. I mention all that because if you read Winter/Windows —which, again, you should, as soon as possible—I think you’ll see immediately that these intimate sensibility of these poems is perfectly matched to the beautiful hand-stitched book in which they are published by the wonderful Éireann Lorsung, herself a poet, of MIEL books. If you order Shana’s book, you will receive it carefully wrapped in a beautiful package; it will take a little while, because it will come to you not from an Amazon distribution center but from a farmhouse in the Belgian countryside, and you will realize when you open it that you have received not a product but a gift. I’m enormously for grateful for the gift of Shana’s poems, and you will be, too.


The UMF community celebrated faculty who published books in 2013 and 2014 at a reception on March 10. Each faculty member’s book was introduced with remarks from another faculty member, a nice (and relatively new) UMF tradition.

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