Review: WKU alumna’s published poetry collection

Editor’s note: The Talisman may profit if “I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Remember That You Are the Sun” is purchased using the Amazon link provided. 

A poem can slice you right open and get down to something inside you like the very core of a jawbreaker and linger there. “I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Remember That You Are the Sun” by Erin Slaughter is a bundle of these poems left on your front doorstep as an offering. Here, Slaughter melts loneliness down; she writes of wandering through a world where none of us and all of us are truly alone.

Slaughter, a Texas native, holds a master’s from WKU and is pursuing a doctorate in creative writing at Florida State University. She is co-founder and editor of The Hunger, a literary journal. In recent years, she has published her poetry chapbooks “Elegy for the Body” and “GIRLFIRE,” and her writing has been featured in publications The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Split Lip Magazine, New South and Passages North, among others. Her new book was published by New Rivers Press in November 2019.


This book is equally dreaming, despairing and despondent. The speaker floats through the seasons of the year, homesick for a place she’s never known, dancing with questions; in a chameleon, amorphous body with identities slipping in and out like the wind, where does everything that is You end, and the Other, the world, begin? How do we fit into the past with our ancestors, with the rivers and trees and ancient blood, when we live in an isolated now? How to go about living when you feel like a tourist in your own home?

Slaughter writes of living life as a puppet, waiting for a ventriloquist: “I’ll sign my flimsy life over to anyone who looks like a seatbelt,” she writes in “what is it about october that feels like burning alive.” Through floral-bedspread memories of a cluttered and messy girlhood to the condensation rings on the coffee table in the empty, vacuous apartment of adulthood, Slaughter takes us through the desperate trifles and searches of every day.

Join the speaker in a bathtub and soak in the orange memories of time gone by, stories unwritten and gnawing losses. Soak in the relentless, hungry teeth of the world. Sit with her and hear her thirst for tenderness in a world where we are all isolated, individually rib-caged. Slaughter’s book should be taken tenderly and supped up and loved “like wind, like a mouth full of clouds / dappling at unrestrained azure and feathering off / to greet the highway,” as she writes in “Self-Portrait as Love’s Coroner.”

Slaughter’s book is out now and available for purchase on Amazon for $13 here.