winner of the 2011 Perugia Press Prize
for a first or second book of poetry by a woman
“Think Marquez in Appalachia, Kay Ryan at a strip mine, and you still won’t have the whole of this brilliant book. In Gloss, Ida Stewart makes magic out of a mountain, out of a childhood lived in West Virginia and the relentless pillaging of that land by commercial interests—and never once does she compromise her art with cliché or polemic. Conscientious, charming, cunning, and complex: Gloss is a significant poetic debut.”
“Ida Stewart’s marvelous debut is pitch-perfect whether one thinks of pitch as a reference to the extraordinary qualities of sound here, or a reference to the velocity of this poet’s verbal curveballs and changeups. “Oh, we’re always in a fix // here, fixed, fixing, asphyxiating / on the basics—the carburetor, the heat, / that lazy no-good someone, the mountain / breathing down our necks,” Stewart writes in one of her many euphonic poems. Even the recurring image of mountains comes to represent pitch as the slope between gravity and levity, mayhem and harmony. Few poets combine such a musical ear with such transfixing insights and associations. Gloss is a brilliant and endlessly resonant first book.
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