“I so love this book:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book of poems and thought, “relentless” from the very beginning all the way through to the end. This book, this occasion, in which we come face to face with the ferocity and grace that is the poetry of Heather Derr-Smith is a moment to celebrate. It’s also a moment to reflect on the terrible compost that gorgeousness like this bursts forth from. These are poems whose mythic register refuses to buy into any kind of soap scrubbed myth. These are poems of grace that will not let the reader come to any easy peace. I can’t stop thinking about this book, is a thing I say about a fair amount of books. But this book? I can’t stop seeing this book in every place I go, in every body I pass by. I needed this book so I could recover from it and also see that some brokenness just won’t leave.  Which means you’ve got to make it into something staggeringly fine.” -Gabrielle Calvocoressi

When reading Heather Derr-Smith’s Thrust, I can’t stop thinking about the distinction between ventilation and respiration. There are many good books of well-crafted poems that generously, vigorously move the air. But it is the essential book that exchanges what one no longer needs for the very life force that lives in this air. Thrust takes “the violence of adulthood” and “the violence of childhood” and “a whole history of bloodshed as inheritance” and turns them into “the ring of a bell, unbreakable.” This is poetry that is breathing. Aliveness both measured and wild.  – TC Tolbert

“The poems in Heather Derr-Smith’s Thrust, all limb and muscle, come out swinging, duck, then whip back around to strike again. To read them is to witness the deciphering of a warped code of past violence remerging as desire. Crude and eloquent, at times lascivious, always purpled with the luxurious aftermath of stink and bruise, these poems will keep you up at night.”—Cate Marvin

Reviews of Thrust