ALL STEEL by Lori Anderson Moseman
96 pages, 7x9, $18
Lori Anderson Moseman knows her way around a toolbox—these poems are built beautifully out of the physical world, with both adze and axe and shine with their own fine grain finishes. All Steel is an epic, of a sort, far-flung in its scope and geographies but terribly local, and intensely personal in its examinations of the individual body and sensibility. Moseman is tough with her music, sly with her riffs, on an arduous journey both outward and inward, drawing on multiple sources and aesthetic streams to sound out her own unique, compelling voice.
— Kazim Ali
Lori Anderson Moseman is an all-terrain vehicle. In All Steel, she asks us to put on our best explorer's boots and trek with her to the edges of form and textuality. Charon's name is said soft like the Rose of Sharon (21). The landscape is historical, feminist, eco-fabled, mythological, playful. The tools to cross it are agricultural, industrial, hand-held. The language of tools here feels like love. Moseman tells us we are fragments of larger stories; her language is rich enough to grow crops in these associative soils. 1,000 store-bought [[over-the-fence Barbie clothes cop's binocs silk appaloosa SEE skin-n-bones (34). We might be at once newcomers to the plain states and their wide aproning skies; and park rangers laying down new trails; and forest rangers surveying damage, inner and outer. Horses, elk, coke bottles run amuck in and over this Wild West text. Moseman sews/sows coals across a linen typography and we follow her burning trail. Will we be okay?
ocarina rendering us / gold / finch flutter (87)
Our Anderson Mosemanic odyssey is perilous, essential. And we are laughing along with her magnificent sense of wonder.
— Anne Gorrick
Our age of human thing plant atmosphere entanglement calls for a poet who knows her way around a toolbox. Moseman is such a rare breed: a writer whose way with words is as sharp as her drawknife, whose poems take on the casesurae of a life working the front lines, the "sledge, haul, spill, cut" of contested ground. Everything is connected, but at every step we pull apart as much as we pull together; All Steel's deeply implicated poems riddle that hard fact. Core samples from a century of trauma, her pleasurable, challenging language shapes deliver, from a divided past, the data of our common future.
— Jonathan Skinner
In Lori Anderson Moseman's All Steel we are in the grip of an imagination, language, and with that loves the world the way a well-crafted tool loves the hand that makes it, and the hand that drives it through wood or metal and whose fingers imprint its handle with their grip. All Steel's scope is huge—history, geography, time, politics, morality, gesture, interstices, while individually the poems are rendered through particulars so vivid and precise they open us to insight, and to pleasure: "Her drawknife is a gesture—/soothing talk that has sap to thank.//Her drawknife can't draw/trees or beetle paths or simple ladders.//It's unidirectional: takes/what it is directed to take. Discards//bark with a bite. It's pointless./All edge. Plane. Plain. Her birth"
— Michele Glazer