"In her poetry collection Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Dara-Lyn Shrager delivers the sumptuous darkness and eerie rapture of a gothic novel, braiding ribbons of narrative and pastoral meditation with moments of pure music. In the world of this book, nature serves as aggressor and accomplice, and the body is a vulnerable fortress. 'The Club' shows us how, 'Baby redpolls leave their nests, feast / then tip to their deaths in wet tombs,' while in 'Bee Mountain' we watch as, 'The sun finds us and slips / us on like a strand of hot metal beads.' The sublime pervades this collection and illuminates it, whether we are stumbling upon, 'hundreds of monarch butterflies / among asphalt pebbles, flattened / beer cans, shreds of newsprint, / cigarette thumbs' or 'clanging all through the night in song.' A stunning and visceral book, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee will draw even the skeptical poetry reader under its spell." — Mary Biddinger


"Dara-Lyn Shrager has an uncommon gift for distilling moments of ordinary terror into essential awareness. Her language is taut, precise, and harrowing. She writes at once out of radical vulnerability and extreme vigilance. All is vividly beheld, but the poet is 'word-bitten, tired in the eyes from seeing.' Rarely have I read a first book so utterly focused, sustained, and perceptive. In the title poem, she is at sea, awake and alone in the dark, working the radio to signal that a storm is coming. Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee is that warning, and it is a triumph of a debut." — Carolyn Forché


"There is such a keen observer in these poems—not just of animals, plants, land and sea,—but of self. An observant ego is behind all of these poems—a speaker who is not afraid of appearing just so—'pretty' or decidedly not, as in the emblematic 'Wild Child' where Shrager replies 'I am nobody’s friend and you can’t make me.' Each poem tutors us for what is to come—for the next and the next beautifully crafted poem. And the collection as a whole is seamlessly presented, paced, ordered, but this is not a well-behaved, tied-in-a-pink-bow book. This is a raw and visceral collection, masterful and compelling. Riveting, actually." — Martha Rhodes

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