In the opening poem of Lost Gospels, Lorri Neilsen Glenn writes of Mahalia Jackson and Blind Willie Johnson:
… they sang, oh yes, they raised light from dark water, dug
diamonds out of the cold, cold ground….
In a sense this is what Neilsen Glenn herself achieves in this deeply moving third book: raising light from dark water. Her new collection confronts the deaths of dear friends and family members, returns to her prairie childhood and youth, and engages hard, hard questions of mortality, and of existence in a world fraught with suffering and violence (both global and domestic). Central is the poetic sequence “A Song for Simone” — a conversation between the poet and French mystical philosopher Simone Weil. Here is poetry reaching out to embrace a manner of being in the world that at once moves beyond the world and engages it fully. Lost Gospels confirms Neilsen Glenn as a poet of maturity, depth and power.
Praise for Lost Gospels:
“…The twang of country music, the ripeness of ‘berry, leaf, fruit,’ the fierce clarity of Simone Weil’s philosophy — Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s poetry exhorts us to ‘Wake every chance you can.’ ‘Carry light,’ she says, and we do, reading her blazing words.” — Anne Simpson