Jane Sasser is one of the most accomplished and worthy of the relatively little-known contemporary Appalachian poets. She was raised on a North Carolina mountain farm and is now retired from teaching at Oak Ridge High School over in Tennessee. The title, What's Underneath, is especially apt not just because so often her lines are clever, but because they often unearth profound truths that resonate strongly. "What's Underneath is a world well worth exploring, a world of chickens in a graveyard whose "crowing ensures there will be unquiet slumber for the sleepers in [the] quiet earth"; or a mother who threatened to haunt, and the speaker who wishes she had so there would be "one kind face in a chaos of loss." It is a world where humor slips up on the reader, as in "Love Poem" where the beloved "grades on a curve," or in "How It Ends" when we discover that what seemed tragic might not be so bad at all. In Jane Sasser's What's Underneath, the reader journeys through the ordinary moments of daily life, guided by a poet who wields language like a spotlight illuminating what otherwise might have gone unnoticed."--Connie Jordan Green.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Iris Press, 2020. 42 pages. Trade paperback.