"Don't Explain accomplishes that most difficult of tasks: the weaving together of seemingly unrelated events so that revelation unfolds effortlessly. These poems are what narrative can aspire to—namely, the grace and ease of the lyric rhapsody. And yet the charm of the anecdotes, her facility with line and image, never take precedence over the hard facts of our daily living."—Rita Dove, Judge, Citation for 1997 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
"These poems remind us that the most memorable verse is not merely the product of talent or skill (although Sholl's poems have always possessed both of these things in abundance), but of something more raw and ineffable—call it courage. Sholl's poems insist that there is no separation between self and world, and that the moral duty of poetry is to carry the world with the same delicacy and grace with which their speaker bears herself. Don't Explain is an urgent and prophetic book."—David Wojahn
"Our fallen world, these unflinching poems say, is not a world of lost souls—that's too Tragic, too literary—but of souls getting lost, that is, living…eventually keeping nothing out. Sholl gets to the midst of that progress by refusing the exalted aerial view—which is why Don't Explain is cause for exaltation—as again and again these poems fall back to their world, a world, Sholl says, "worth falling for." The result: poetry: the past becomes passage, undergone but never gone under."—William Olsen
About the Author
Betsy Sholl grew up on the NewJersey shore, lived in Boston and Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and now lives in Portland, Maine. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine and in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College. She has published four books of poetry, including Changing Faces, Appalachian Winter, and Rooms Overhead . The fourth, The Red Line, won the 1991 Associated Writing Programs Award for Poetry.