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Hillbilly Madonna

"This collection emerges from the intersection of the vernacular world and the empire of divine myth. Father, mother, sister, baby, self—each holds a space in a rough-hewn narrative of abuse, addiction, and survival—and also exists as a looming shadow of its antecedent in the realm of archetype. The canopy over Wagner’s creation, and the terrain that buttresses it, is the Appalachian landscape itself, and its synonym, the body. 'When the doctor opens me up, / my bones are gold— / There is some enchantment in them,' she writes. I am wholly enchanted by Hillbilly Madonna."


— Diane Seuss, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Frank: Sonnets



"Sara Moore Wagner’s Hillbilly Madonna is a book I have been waiting for. Wagner’s family was part of the great diaspora of Appalachian people from the mountains to the cities, and the voice of one raised in that borderland, not quite urban, not quite country, has been long missing from our poetry. No more. And what a voice! HillbillyMadonna offers an unflinching yet tender look at a largely untended girlhood where 'No one told us/how to live as a girl would,/… shave / the holler from our limbs like scraping /paint off an old truck.' These poems are an intoxicating mix of story, myth, image and truthtelling. They compel us 'to really look at it, to see it blinking/through the blackness' – a life, in all its fierce and complicated beauty. Wagner tells us, 'I pick an orange tiger lily with my messy orange fingers, / because I want to remember blooming. / Because I think I could just bloom.' And on these pages, she has.


— Pauletta Hansel, Author of Heartbreak Tree



Author: Sara Moore Wagner

Genre: Poetry Collections

ISBN: 978-1-949065-22-0

Page Count: 96

Release Date: November 15 2022


**Cover Art by Caspar David Fredrich

**Cover Design by Sally Franckowiak, Jerrod Schwarz, & James McNulty

Hillbilly Madonna

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