From Publishers Weekly
The title poem of Byer's collection, the 1992 Lamont Poetry selection, introduces readers to the themes of self-reliance and respect for tradition that are woven into the broad narrative design of the book: "In the stream where I scrub my own blood / from rags, I see all things flow / down from me into the valley." The dominant voice here belongs to a woman named Alma who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the turn of the century. The poems, filled with references to mountain ballads and wild flowers from that region, attempt to piece together the hard and lonely experience of women in the mountain frontier. At times, the imagery in the poems is striking: " 'Who are you?" I asked the shade / where her milk bucket rusted to nothing / but rim . . . " But in general the work is unoriginal. By and large, the poems are built in stanzas of free verse, technically similar to the conventional fare of contemporary poetry. Byer ( The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest ) does not create a new idiom for Alma's voice and there are few surprises in her confessions.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.