Winter: Effulgences and Devotions

Sarah Vap

Sarah Vap is the author of seven books of poetry, poetics, and creative nonfiction. She is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, and was selected as winner of the National Poetry Series, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and was the Distinguished Hugo Writer the University of Montana. She received her BA from Brown University, her MFA from Arizona State University, and her PhD from the University of Southern California. She has been faculty for the past five years in the MFA program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation at Drew University. Vap was raised in Missoula, Montana.

About the collection

In Winter: Effulgences and Devotions, Sarah Vap documents the obstacles to writing a single poem over a twelve-year period. Her account becomes a confrontation with the insidious, radiating, pliant character of late capitalism. She encounters it as a rootless system, an airborne contagion, a toxin in the walls of our homes. Pursuing her distractions across the years, Vap makes certain commitments: to remember the wars that her country is waging, which are meant to be invisible to her; to mourn the deaths of whales by sonar; to hear though she is deaf; to be present for the loss of winter, as she knows it, from earth; and to herself, a profane and multifarious creature who possibly has a soul. Reeling from the nonstop “competition” that sustains the anthropocene’s profiteers, Vap offers an unapologetic case study of encroachment, susceptibility, tenderness, porousness and endurance.


The world is ending; or the world is always ending; or the worlds within the world are continually ending: this is what Sarah Vap’s Winter so hauntingly teaches. Winter is a deep and arresting disclosure of interruption, rupture, and letting go. The world does not put itself back together again; the ending resists. In haunting and shifting and vibrant prose, Vap displays what it is to be interrupted, to see the thing one loves slowly and suddenly go out of the world. To read Winter is to tread deep and deeper and deeper still into a terrifying yet sublime vortex.


Jenny Boully

Winter is a book of thrilling beauty. Pain. Curiosity. Intimacy. Motherhood. Death. Ecstatic joy. Violence and resistance to violence. Above all, or at the center of all, the maternal body, and “the astonishing porousness that motherhood has created.”  Around her, the awesome and awful and endangered world, in language slick as ice melting, fluid as milk straight from the nursing animal. Sarah Vap is one of the finest and fiercest writers of her generation.


Alicia Ostriker

$15 Paperback | Publication Date Sept. 15, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-934819-83-8