Let the House of Body Fall

let-the-house-of-body-fall$16.00 paper | 81 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936970-55-1
Publication Date: October 2018
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2017 Editor’s Choice

“As the title makes clear, Let the House of Body Fall will not catch you. Sara J. Grossman’s searing poems do not placate, do not let you off the hook, do not perform bravery as sometimes expected from works addressing disability. Instead, Grossman demands relentless honesty from both her poems and her readers. With restrained and elegant violence, she wrenches the pastoral poem to expose the ways humans are poisoning the earth, our bodies, and our psyches. She fearlessly engages in the brutal reality of the embodied world and asks us to consider: What is the body? And then: What privileges and responsibilities come with inhabiting the house of body? Finely crafted and full of awe in their examination of our corporeal vulnerability—to sudden death, to limblessness, to loneliness—Grossman’s poems leaves me disquieted and transformed.”

—Tamiko Beyer

“‘Bracken me world, make me still,’ writes Sara Grossman in this riveting book, in which the poet challenges herself, and readers, to  ‘to know [ourselves] . . . without deflection.’ Grossman’s poems move through a sharply mingled landscape, post-industrial, agricultural, rural, urban, ruminating toward insight after prolonged, at times terrible, absorption. Sometimes the fallen ‘body’ is a disassembled and unjust paradigm, one of a wholeness that was never true. Sometimes the ruin is deeper, has been absorbed by the living land that deserved more honor to its complexity: ‘the eggs were dead before the tiller/dead because we’d sprayed the field,/a blessing, we’d thought . . . a gift of labor. . . We/didn’t know the birds were bathing in the water’ (“My Father Applies Roundup to a Cornflower Field). And there is the ruin that precipitates openness, admits attention, ‘the house of the body’ not a ‘house’ but matter lived in, actual, ‘a vital strangeness… tilting with openness’ like the ‘undone sky’ one poem’s speaker lies under—‘a revolution of empty.’  Let the House of the Body Fall holds the poems I need most right now. I have never read a book like this one.”

—Lisa Williams


“I’m gobsmacked by the poems in Let the House of Body Fall. Sara Grossman is an original maker, an innovator, and a disability ecoculturalist.”

—Jillian Weise


“Sara Grossman’s compelling debut, Let the House of Body Fall, sparks with vivid elegiac pastorals in which ‘every last star explodes into the mouth of the wreck we’ve made.’ The world in these poems itself revolves around its own agenda, such as in “Morning,” which begins, ‘It happened for the thistle,’ while elsewhere in the collection, as human, ‘You’re a singular//accidental thing.’ Yet agency drives the poems, born from the vantage of ecopoetics and disability, as Grossman powerfully pushes back at humanity’s cruelties through such images as the freed claws of banded lobsters ‘like an army/of hands’ in “A One-Armed Woman Walks into a Supermarket,” and through pointedly echoing back voices and actions of those who mock the disabled: ‘in the hospital where were/my hands/I would make// such good use/of them/but instead this video//mocking a reporter/with his hands//how the doctors must have// looked at me….’ These beautiful and original poems, forged with a striking lyrical precision, demand to be read again and again.”

—Rebecca Morgan Frank


Sara J. Grossman

Sara Grossman

Sara J. Grossman’s writing has appeared in Guernica, Michigan Quarterly Review, Omniverse, Verse Daily and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Rutgers University-Newark (MFA 2011), National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at Pennsylvania State University.