Two words, stumbled across while going through family papers, upended everything poet Catherine Sasanov thought she knew about her Missouri ancestors. Using extensive research and imaginative speculation, Sasanov not only constructs fragments of what might have been the lives of the central figures in this tragic drama-the eleven men, women and children held in bondage by her great-great-great-grandfather and his family but also offers a larger view of American slavery and the artifacts and attitudes that are its ongoing legacy.
Had Slaves is the winner of the inaugural Sentence Book Award, which goes annually to a manuscript consisting entirely or substantially of prose poems or other hard-to-define work situated in the grey areas between poetry and other genres - work that promotes the mission of Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics to extend the conception of what the prose poem is or can be.
New reviews of Catherine Sasanov's Had Slaves by Julia Perch at Press 1 and Galatea Resurrects #15 (A Poetry Engagement).
"Sasanov demonstrates here, as she has in the past, that it is possible to tell a story in verse that takes advantage of what makes poetry so powerful, its magnificent potential for restraint, economy, and a kind of emotional precision that nearly defies comprehension."
- Sima Rabinowitz, NewPages.com
"After research and soul search, Catherine Sasanov leaves us with a distillation of thought on the brink of extinction. Poems that breathe with the urgency of last resort, as though every other means of expression had been exhausted."
- Ruth Maleczech, Mabou Mines Theater Company