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ISBN: 978-1-62557-003-1
Reviews & Media Poem in VERSE DAILY
Categories Poetry

Something Opened

Publication Date: June 2020




Some years ago, the poet Samantha Deal was in a car accident, which left her body altered. In Something Opened, she returns to that scene continually, touching the scars in her own flesh and in the tree with such wonder that every surrounding detail seems lit with spiritual significance. There’s considerable formal range here; the book moves gracefully from experimental modes to well-wrought traditional forms. Deal’s main influence here seems to be her fellow Southerner, Charles Wright, not only in line but in lyrical conviction. Overall, this is an astonishing and fully realized debut for a poet who obsessively, yet delicately, sifts the material of trauma like a scientist of memory.

––Michael White

Something Opened, Samantha Deal’s exquisite debut collection, reconstructs versions of a central, traumatic, remembered event to arrive at compelling and original visions of self, family, body––of the nature of memory itself.  “We are made” writes Deal, “of searching––this overlap.”  Deal’s poems are formally inventive, moving back and forth between poetry and moments of prose, exploring the overlap with intelligence and without sentimentality, intensely, unforgettably.

––Nancy Eimers

By turns searching, elegiac, and haunting, Samantha Deal’s poems offer mesmeric lines that plumb the heights and depths of world-knowledge, of grief and of joy. Deal marries alluvial sweeps of details to surprising insights, as the past and the future, hurt and love, pain and promise “ring in the bone like a bow’s long drag across cello strings.” I was surprised and moved by so many of these poems-transformative, transfigurative, I was also, as Deal writes, “a cloud of dust, a blade of grass, I was careless, I was / ceiling tiles…” Something Opened is a marvelous debut collection from a poet with extraordinary promise.

––Mark Wagenaar

About the Author

© Background Painting: "Spring," © 2015 Tyler Deal.

Samantha Deal

Samantha Deal's poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Quarterly West, Hunger Mountain, The Journal, Word Riot, The Boiler, Tupelo Quarterly, Rattle, Ninth Letter, and others; she also has poetry forthcoming in the 2017 Best New Poets anthology. A finalist for poetry prizes from the Mississippi Review, River Styx, and The American Literary Review, Samantha has been the recipient of Western Michigan University's 2015 Gwen Frostic award for creative nonfiction as well as a 2016 creative nonfiction fellowship from Writers at Work. She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Currently, she splits her time between Boone, North Carolina, and Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she is a doctoral candidate at Western Michigan University and serves as co-coordinator for the Poets-in-Print reading series and an intern for New Issues Press.

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