Prose Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 80 pages
2015, ISBN: 978-1-936419-48-7 $14.95 + S&H
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Told in prose poems, Buick City is a coming-of-age tale about growing up in the deindustrialized Midwest – about trailer park kids fending for themselves while laid-off parents navigate their new minimum wage jobs; about teenagers inventing sex on the loading dock behind the convenience store; about young people yearning for a life beyond making a living and fighting with customers at the 24 hour supermarket. From neighborhood Casanovas to part-time hitmen to grandmothers run-ragged, the portraits of life in Buick City offer a glimpse into the world beyond factory closings and rustbelt blight and into the life of a place teeming with desperation, joy, and hope.
Praise for Sarah Carson’s work:
Sarah Carson has an imaginative gift for transporting us within the nuances & netherworld of her hometown. I can’t imagine are more dead-eye illumination of the region—told with incredible wit & a rough-minded passion. Many might steer you from the town itself, but missing out on Buick City would be a decidedly wrong turn. I will gladly enjoy returning to these pages—and often. — Ben Hamper
Mercifully without glibness, derision or rancor, the sinewy poems in Buick City chronicle the petty crimes taking place outside love motels and flavored with instant cocoa; the heart of the culture found in the break room at the back of a 24-hour supermarket. Like Updike’s “A&P” retold by a Rust Belt girl born in 1984, Sarah Carson boldly goes where few poets dare—straight into a (Mid)Western consciousness redolent with pop rocks, black pepper, diet Coke and weed. I’m so grateful we have this desperate, hopeful, utterly American work. — Arielle Greenberg
Sarah Carson is the bard of the Flint, Michigan working class. Her poems sketch the lives of the workers in the post-manufacturing economy: the warehouse worker, the twenty-four hour store clerk—the jobs that survived after the living wages disappeared. She speaks for the blighted yet beautiful souls subject to twenty pallets of diet soda to unload, mandatory piss tests, loading dock romances, and HR legalese. The collection feels—as good poetry should—like the walls between one person and the next are very thin. — Frank Montesonti
An interesting interview with Sarah Carson in Belt Magazine
BELT: How do people respond when you say you’re from Flint?
Carson: Usually the response when I say I’m from Flint is kind of an Ohhh…
BELT: Like your dog died!
Carson: I used to buy into it and say, yeah, it’s pretty tough. But now I always tell people it’s not what they hear
“Buick City” by Sara Carson reviewed in Flint’s East Village Magazine “..bold dispatches from ruin, hope…”
“Buick City” by Sara Carson reviewed by Karen J Weyant
“Buick City” by Sara Carson reviewed in Rain Taxi (Volume 20, Number 3, Fall 2015 #79) (Penny Guisinger)
Sarah Carson is featured on Episode 33 of the Radio Free Albion Poetry Podcast with Tony Trigilio. The program is about 46 minutes long. You can find our archive of the show here
Perfectly Useful Front Lawns
We live now in a dream between who we are and what scares us. We count weeks by how often Trenell changes her clothes, how many fights she starts with strangers on our lawn, not hers. We follow Chevrolet Avenue across where the river used to be, where someone once decided to float severed tree trunks, consequently built a town, built the houses we split our time in, always scrubbing, cleaning, repatching, begging Paul not to use his bong in the yard. At the Family Dollar, Mom says not to get the zebra striped microplush shorts, worried I’ll be confused for one of them, be dragged into one of their desperation scuffles that always end in fire. We sit on the porch and let them know we have not forgotten. We cheer the way the cops take notes on tiny sheets of paper. We drink from our tumblers; we send the dog out and we wait. We remember how there used to be all kinds of finished and polished endings. We tell passerbys how there used to be hockey and how there used to be baseball, that our uncles had lived by radio, by Detroit, by the Tigers, on their own, perfectly manicured, perfectly useful front lawns.
About Sarah Carson
Sarah Carson was born and raised in Michigan but now lives in Chicago where she works at a church. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Cream City Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Diagram, Guernica, and the Nashville Review, among others. She is also the author of three chapbooks and the full-length collection: Poems in which You Die (Bat Cat Press). She blogs at sarahamycarson.com.