Struck Dumb with Singing


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“Schesser’s poems are alive with rapture for earthscapes brimming with the divine as she travels in the company of Hopkins and Roethke and Jacques Maritain, working ‘a clutch of words / stumbling through a universe’ in praise of ‘undeviating love.’”

—John Balaban, Lamont Prize winner, author of Empires

“LeighAnna Schesser’s Struck Dumb With Singing delivers an incantatory, spiritual journey through beautifully rendered pastoral poems: ‘What claw and talon beast of wonder hunts in the hills of my heart now?’ There’s a rhythm to this collection, reminiscent of Rilke and Mary Oliver, that builds on hope and our essential need to understand the void between a seeker and God, caught up in ‘a litany of birdsongs.’ The intimacy of these poems will break and mend your soul in the natural world they root you in: ‘Cooldark, deepstill, above-well, air- bone streak-stop.’ Here, the stick, the leaf ‘is the poem now,’ among the earth’s quiet abundance. Full of wonder and shimmer, Schesser’s poems intone a strong knell of being: ‘I am, I am. We are always only ready to begin.’

—Nicole Rollender, author of Louder Than Everything You Love

LeighAnna Schesser’s poems remind us about the beauty of ordinary life which we must remember despite our unavoidable sorrows. In “Perspective,” one of the poems I love most in this collection, she tells us “The moon sings white noise / through clouds and light pollution” and it is that singing that speaks to me most: how even the bleakest moments contain beauty, that we “can never / choose what saves you. Only / how to carry the gift of gratitude.”

—Kate Angus, author of So Late to the Party

LeighAnna Schesser’s first full-length poetry collection has been gathering itself, waiting to surface, and here it is: her voice not a geyser, not a torrent, but a prairie creek in May: clear water moving lightly over smooth stones.

–Jane Greer, Love like a Conflagration (Lambing Press, 2020)

LeighAnna Schesser is the author of a chapbook, Heartland (Anchor & Plume, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Flint Hills Review, Dappled Things, Presence, Peacock Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in Kansas.