Equal parts church hymnal and outlaw country album, Carrie's Jerrell's After the Revival exudes a reverence for all things run down and wrecked. From abandoned coal mines to overgrown cemeteries; from rivers full of leeches to tornados; from demolition derbies to weddings gone wrong: the places and events explored in this dazzling debut collection give rise to playful, poignant meditations on the shifty limits of language, memory, faith and love.
"Carrie Jerrell, a worthy winner of the Anthony Hecht Prize, deftly introduces hereself in her first title, 'The Poet Prays to Her Radio for a Country Song'. She has a simple, but startlingly effective strategy: the set the taut rhythms and shapely stanzas won from formal education against the language of a rich, rough earlier life... She can send sensuous energy racing through a sonnet's close: 'blood rush, the touch, the bliss of skin on skin'... This is a poet with a future."
Alison Brackenbury, PNR
"What do you call this? Sprezzatura? Panache? Neither sounds very Country. Both the book’s introduction, by the poet Alan Shapiro, and one of its blurbs, use the word sass to refer to this quality, and that sounds about right: Sass, raised to the level of Art."
Contemporary Poetry Review
"Carrie Jerrell is a poised, mature and brilliant poet. Her distinctive genius, what makes her unlike anybody else I know, is her ability to bring together such a heterogeneous mix of worlds and influences – to be open to everything formal and informal, profane and sacred, foreign and home grown."
"Jerrell's work has a Larkinian honesty and awareness of the powers of self-deception; yet it has a [Dolly] Partonesque openness to optimism as well as to pain, too. These poems are full of unease and energy, of humour and formal grace, anguish and allusion. The sources of her epigraphs range from Donne to Dottie West, from Tom Petty to the Book of Deuteronomy and that range is emblematic of her work. She handles traditional forms splendidly - she deserves a place in any modern anthology of sonnets and she writes a pretty mean sestina too... Assured, accomplished, zestful, wry - this is an impressive and attractive collection."
"The poems in this book are full of idiosyncratic wit, keen social intelligence and a kind of sass that makes great use of both the honey and the sting. That's pleasure enough to encounter, but add to this Jerrell's enviable formal assuredness and you have a book that announces a bright new voice to contemporary American poetry."
"After the Revival carefully mourns the vulnerability of rural America, from its people and their ways, to its small towns, to the land itself. There's a bell of desperation quietly ringing throughout this original and finely-observed book. Carrie Jerrell's poems are loaded with longing and anguish; they hit the page as homemade creations, gritty systems of memory and transformation, rough-hewn and vital."
Carrie Jerrell was born in Petersburg, Indiana, in 1976. She received her MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and her PhD from Texas Tech University. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, as well as the anthologies Sonnets: 150 Contemporary Sonnets, Cadence of Hooves, and Best New Poets 2005. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky and serves as the poetry editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.