In Under a Prairie Moon, Susie Niedermeyer doesn't so much observe the natural world as experience it flowing through herself. In a poetic voice that is at once down-to-earth and visionary, she explores inner and outer landscapes as they intersect and shape one another. Many of these poems are rooted in close, delicate observation of plant and animal life in the rural Midwest and are animated by the poet's acute sensitivity to the life within her and abroad. These poems carry the weight and the wisdom of lived experience: how memories accumulate in individual lives and cast their shadows on the present; how illumination and understanding can come suddenly, in a moment. These are poems of promise and regret, of fulfillment and loss, of love and longing, written by a poet who knows that "From all our moments something / must remain" ("Advent of Autumn") and yet also that the earth continues "huge against the smallness / of our passing" ("Amigo"). There are special moments here when individual being expands and there is no separation between observer and observed, whether under the vastness of a night sky or at the edge of waters, or in moments when the poet falls "deep into the quiet of trees" ("Home") or knows that couched within all things is an effulgent light. There are reminders here of Mary Oliver and Denise Levertov; these poems speak gently, with a fine intelligence, of a life reflected on by a woman who can feel, on a winter evening, "the body of the earth / Becoming my body, filled / with quiet stars and snow" ("Night Vision").
- Bryan Aubrey, Ph.D.
Author of Watchmen of Eternity: Blake's Debt to Jacob Boehme
Here are the fierce truths of love, and sorrow saved by beauty. Read these poems if you're willing to be shaken awake, to have the hair stand up on your arms, to feel your eyes brim again and again. The poems do not leave me when I put down the book.
-Diane Cooledge Porter, nature writer, ornithologist