by Sarah Gzemski
Centralia is a mixed genre chapbook, blending personal essay, photographs, and poems into a narrative of family, silence, admiration, and regret. It’s very much about things unseen or only hinted at, told against the backdrop of a small town in Pennsylvania, a community resting on a thin crust of earth spanning fire. This is a chapbook well suited to the image-rich, surreal imagery of an underground burn, rooted in a sense of place and colored by a veil of smoke. Just when you think you know what this narrative’s about, another fissure opens. (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
EXCERPT FROM “ATTEMPT TO STOP THE FIRE 1:”
They figured they’d dig it out. Get their shovels around the fire, send the men into the caverns, get them to start mining again. They figured the fire wasn’t in a hurry, that it would stay put while they hacked away at the fuel around it. But the fire taunted, always moving ahead of everything they cleared, growling. Machines only made things worse: they pierced the shaft, let in air that fanned the flames, wind a giant bellows in the black-walled tunnel. The team was only allowed to work from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, as though fire could not run rampant on weekends, holidays, or the middle of the night.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Gzemski is a poet and nonfiction writer originally from Pennsylvania. Currently living in Mesilla, New Mexico, she is the Managing Editor of Noemi Press and is working toward her MFA in Poetry at New Mexico State University. Some of her work has appeared recently in The Adirondack Review and Bone Bouquet.
ABOUT THE COVER
The cover is a custom watercolored drawing. Nicci Mechler is the artist: @wickedlittleheart on IG.