Flatback Sally Country
Rachel Custer’s Flatback Sally Country is hard-hitting and harrowing and almost hypnotically beautiful in its deft singing of the stories of America’s vast middle, of the flyover land pinned beneath the derision of coastal elites. Personas like Tommy Two Fingers, Old Maid, and Flatback Sally herself tell us of lives “lived alone behind / the turned back of the world,” nursing “the desperate shame // of broken teeth, of ugliness / that can’t afford disguise.” Think holler; think burnt-out, spit-out coal town; think meth; think whole communities sunk into the grave-deep rut of poverty. Violence is done in this book, to factory workers’ bodies “feeding [them]selves in pieces to machines” to keep America’s shelves stocked, and to women, especially those kinds of women, like Sally, so often hooked and gutted by men’s wants and needs. Flatback Sally Country is a timely, vitally important book by one of the most gifted young poets writing today.
—Francesca Bell, What Small Sound