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Catching Light: Poems by Kathryn Stripling Byer. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2002, 62 PP., $22.95 hardcover, $15.95 paper.
The opening line of Kathryn Stripling Byer's first book, The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, had me intrigued and smiling:
Going down the road feeling good, I snap my fingers. Hear, hear! at an auction my father bid sixty-five dollars for a fat Hampshire pig just by rubbing his nose.... Crabbed youth, crab apples, crepe myrtle, I mumble as I shuffle downhill, my crabbed youth behind me like gnats singing. I've come a long way from what's been described as a mean and starved corner of backwoods America. That has a ring to it. (p. 3)
I was right there on that road with her at the end:
... Some words are gates swinging wide open, and I walk on through one more summer that like this road's going down easy. The gnats sing, and I'm going to sing. One of these days I'll be gone. (p. 4)
"Take that, world" the feisty young …