WINNER OF THE 2013 MICHAEL RUBIN BOOK AWARD
In Niagara Transnational the geography of downhome dots every destination like "holes in a fence." Heady's nuanced debut pivots with lyric motion and true twentieth century gravel crunching under every page's feet.
—Kim Gek Lin Short
So much speaks in Sarah Heady's Niagara Transnational, and sings, too, from Los Angeles to Atlantic City, from the Magic Castle to Idlewilde. And always, there is water—the lake, the beach, the river—and the sick song of what's been done, sunk, dumped in American lakes, beaches, and rivers "dirty with freedom"...a complicated song, beautiful and ugly, a song that changes shape again and again, changes singers, but never looks away: "Unlike most on holiday, I want to see where my own / shit goes when it dies."
Sarah Heady’s Niagara Transnational is an epic American travelogue, but don’t expect mythic vistas and fruited plains. Heady, our 21st-century Virgil, propels us with gutsy, erotic, punky aplomb into the rusted waste and sugary spoils of the last century. With this series of sagely annotated poems made of passionate trash—old postcards, out-of-date informational placards, crumbling amusement park rides, rest stop confessions—Heady reports to us from the field. In Heady’s newborn folk song we hear the traveler who resists being fully a stranger, as if true wandering can only take place at home on familiar roads. And as readers we too come to own this place.