Granddaughter of Dust by Laura Williams

Source: Publisher
Paperback, 128 pgs.
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Granddaughter of Dust by Laura Williams explores imagination and reinvention, as Williams takes on iconic characters from fairy tales and literature and enlivens her poems with child-like imagination. The collection opens in that child’s perspective in “‘The Horse Fair,'” in which an observer is in a gallery viewing a painting. “I’m standing in a gallery, sterile, quiet. The horses cannot/stamp off the wall, out of the pigment and into the world.//” (pg. 3) The narrator of this poem is recalling a time when imagination was endless and there was a sense of freedom in that. But by the end of the poem, we know that the sense of wonder and exploration has been hindered by life experience and the narrator wants to return to a time when imagination was a gateway to possibility.

Williams’ poems are imaginative, break with traditional forms and combine a narrative prose within the poem that break up the norm of verse. Many of her poems stretch the meaning of perception and understanding, like in “Drowning,” where the narrator is saved from drowning in the ocean and is fully aware that the saver is “Wary. Watchful. Afraid.” and unable to look at the narrator in the same way. But the pull of the ocean was too much and a need for rest a strong pulling tide. The outside viewer would see the saver as a hero, while the saved here doesn’t view them in that way, especially when they are strapped to the bed.

In these early poems, the ocean, sea, and water are a major component of Williams’ poems. Whether it is the pull of the ocean as a place of rest through drowning or the taste of salt in a narrator’s tears, Williams is exploring that magnetic energy of the ocean — its vastness, its mystery, its a place where darkness resides deep and can be hidden away.


The sun burns
if you let
it shine on

you too long.
How long is
too long? Learn

by being burned.
The sun gives
life by shining.

You remember the
burn from the
scars, from the

transformation of being
set aflame and
after somehow surviving.

Williams’ poems are stunning whether she’s speaking about fairy tales like “Red Riding Hood” or “Cinderella” or more personal experiences. A lot of these poems show a different perspective from traditional points of view, and it enables readers to see the effect of their platitudes and kind intentions on those deeply hurting. We often rely on platitudes because we don’t know how to make things better or how to help. Perhaps it is better to just say that we don’t, admit we don’t know everything. Granddaughter of Dust by Laura Williams is a must have poetry collection.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Laura Williams cannot remember a time she did not love to read; her passion for writing came later, but poetry has been her life-long love. The younger middle child of four, she has been blessed with a large, close-knit family. She is in the process of earning her doctorate in education, focusing on adult literacy, at Louisiana State University and lives with two mischievous cats.

Mailbox Monday #656

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci, which I purchased.

Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the savory recipes and into the compelling stories behind them.​

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last.

Written with Stanley’s signature wry humor, Taste is for fans of Bill Buford, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Ruth Reichl—and anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

Granddaughter of Dust by Laura Williams for review.

In Granddaughter of Dust, brilliant debut poet Laura Williams presents a compelling collection of poems whose perspective demonstrates an original outlook and heartfelt emotions. Williams has crafted a deeply moving collection that addresses themes of religion, culture, and a personal journey of growth. Bringing a unique voice to familiar characters from our collective experience, Williams provides the reader with an unexpected view, and her readers will connect to the raw emotion and depth of feeling found in these verses. Williams’ free form style and use of rhythmic repetition evoke a lyrical feeling which lingers long after the page is turned.

Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron for review.

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.

Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.

What did you receive?