Heather Derr-Smith is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop with three books, Each End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2005), The Bride Minaret (University of Akron Press, 2008), and Tongue Screw (Sparkwheel Press, 2016). Her fourth collection, Thrust, was the winner of the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize at Persea Books published in 2017. She is founder and director of Cuvaj se, a nonprofit supporting writers in conflict zones and post-conflict zones.
Praise for Tongue Screw
In rivetingly ecstatic and stunningly musical lines, Heather Derr-Smith composes paeans that praise and bless the yearning blood-thrum and finite vulnerability of human embodiment. Tongue Screw evokes the metal torture device used to prevent Mennonite martyrs from testifying as they were burned alive, and in these incandescent poems, the abjections and beatitudes of the flesh are tenderly rendered as ravishingly spiritual. Equal parts hymn ringing over the open plains in four-part harmony, and visceral soul-cry of punk rock, the poems in Tongue Screw are fiercely glorious in their evocation of troubled memory, gritty desire, and love’s holy ghost.
—Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of Dandarians
In Derr-Smith’s Tongue Screw, each poem “lifts its rattle to astonish us,” each line both an anatomy and ecology of our own darkness. Derr-Smith’s poems are imagistically rich and unflinchingly honest as they unfold, one after the other, the thin and permeable boundaries between war and desire, violence and beauty, politics and the inexplicable motion of experience.
—Stacey Waite, author of Butch Geography