Groundglass by Kathryn Savage

Author:  Kathryn Savage

The cover to Groundglass by Kathryn SavageMinneapolis. Coffee House Press. 2022. 240 pages.

Groundglass is a lyric essay collection through which Kathryn Savage grapples with the idea of home and belonging in a world where we have caused these places to become toxic to all life. Savage confronts the grief of losing her father to one such place, and how, through the lens of that experience, she views other toxic places, walking them, taking them in, breathing them in, becoming one with them.

Groundglass entangles the reader with a series of reflections upon the land that she and so many others reside upon, yet one that, due to the actions of our society, is now poisoned. She spins these discreet pieces together, creating something greater than its parts. Savage asks us, Can we love what poisons us? Can we willingly drink from the cup, savoring the flavor of it, doing what we can so that whomever we pass the cup to may suffer a lesser fate? Savage takes us along with her to different brownfields and superfund sites, places so polluted that the EPA has declared them some of the worst sites of uncontrolled and/or abandoned toxic waste in the United States.

Through the medium of the lyric essay, Savage explores her ideas in a unique way, creating something inexplicably moving through her mixture of memoir and poetry. Having put her heart and soul into Groundglass, she requires the same of her reader. Evoking a broken mirror to reflect a broken world, she invites readers to dwell on who is staring back at them and on what has gone into making them who they are.

Savage has achieved something remarkable in Groundglass, something worthy of meditation and deep thought.

Sohrab Boldaji
Orono, Maine

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