Praise for Sleuth
"Elaine Sexton knows how to raise autobiography to the level of true poetry, and this knack has much to do with her use of surprise. Just when we think we know where one of her poems is going, we step into air. Sleuth leads us carefully into her life through a series of bracing verbal delights."
"Elaine Sexton’s poetry is furious and unstoppable — and it is all the more so because it insinuates itself into our consciousness with such love and exquisite tenderness. Underneath that tenderness, though, is a relentless will to forego the inessential, to take the measure of the real, to uncover the secret and silent engines of our human grief. It’s hard to know what to praise more in these poems: their beautiful surfaces or their depths, which verge, in poem after poem, on the oceanic. This is a book of great valor and awareness."
"When I first saw Elaine Sexton’s poems, I was impressed by their bright intelligence, their fierce gaze and crisp language. Now I see she was always the Sleuth intent on knowing the mysteries — and it’s that hard bright gaze that redeems the ordinary sorrow in this book and celebrates, without sentimentality, the restorative love here too."
"‘Could I get more specific?’ Elaine Sexton asks rhetorically in a poem about her mother selling the World Book door-to-door. The charm of this first book is indeed its specificity. Poem after poem unfolds with crisp detail and subtle metaphors that take us by surprise. ‘Nothing,’ she writes, ‘is safe from poetry,’ and with a sure hand she proves it."