soft focus

REVIEWS

“Grimm’s poems are sparse, lineated, and airy, with a dry, sarcastic humor. . . . a modern-day Plath, using knife-sharp language to offer a scathing critique of society’s pressures on women to remain small and silent.”  

–KRISTIN SANDERS, WEIRD SISTER


“Grimm finds poetry in the shimmering and bloodied magic of being alive in today’s world, and casts a soft, cutting eye at everything from celebrity and consumerism to green lawns and GMOs. . . . In the age of detox diets and sea level rising, there is, at least, the IUD.”  

–RACHELLE TOARMINO, PEACH MAGAZINE


“A beautiful, lyrical reminder of the all-too-familiar constraints of womanhood. . . . Grimm presents the reader with an offering ­– an intricately woven, keenly versed exploration of femininity, internet culture, the beauty industry, and body politics. . . . a must-read of this year.” 

–LESLEY LEROUX, VAGABOND CITY LIT


“What intrigues me here is this simultaneous ignition and extinction of her power that women negotiate every day. . . .” 

–CAROLINE HAGOOD, KENYON REVIEW


“Grimm's poems seem to exert against occasional exhaustion, cultural bullshit and growing pains; hers is a book of uncertainty, perseverance and exploration.” 
–ROB MCLENNAN, BLOG
 

“Sarah Jean Grimm’s debut collection is alive with energy that radiates outward through the speakers’ every emotion and thought. Uncomfortable, yearning, content, confident, violent—the mode and tone keep transforming but the energy stays locked in the poems’ cores throughout this collection. . . . This is a beautiful, tense book of poems.” 

–BRANDON AMICO, BLOG

 

“The speaker of the poems in Soft Focus admires then recoils, looks at you then looks away, flickers on then off—all in an effort to understand and harness her own power. Sometimes that power comes from her body, sometimes it comes from performance, and sometimes it comes simply from defining what she wants, even when it’s unattainable. I love the lens Sarah Jean Grimm sees her world through.”

–CHELSEA HODSON, AUTHOR OF PITY THE ANIMAL
 

“The speaker in Sarah Jean Grimm’s Soft Focus is a girl always on the verge, blithely post-body but still ‘gutted to know the animal.’ Reading these poems made me feel like I was watching myself in a two-way mirror, about to knock on the glass.”

–NIINA POLLARI, AUTHOR OF DEAD HORSE


“When I was a kid, my favorite ice cream flavor was the one called ‘rainbow.’ What I most liked about the flavor wasn’t its sweetness, which was like bubblegum made of strawberries and blackberries, but rather its abundance of bright colors, which, spoonful by spoonful, lick by lick, mixed until they merged. Melted rainbow ice cream wasn’t made of a thousand colors any longer, but rather only one: purple, muted, and dark; and yet, its flavor continued to be exactly the same as before. I believe that this is precisely what happens with the poetry of Sarah Jean Grimm. Her verses are explosions of color, but they can also become a melody bitter and black. Whoever dares to read them—to lick them, to chew them—will understand that the sorrow they sometimes contain balances the sweetness of their pleasure. Thus, Soft Focus is like a rainbow. Like a memory of childhood that flickers out. Like a magical, impossible flavor that, without doubt, will turn us into addicts.” 

–LUNA MIGUEL, AUTHOR OF LOS ESTOMAGOS