At the center of The Weather Gods lie several paradoxes: the world is both a respite and site for grief; a salve and a source of disappointment; a place of renewal and death; a place of enduring spirit and losing control. The book views nature as a place for healing – whether from death, lost love(s), or unmet expectations in the business of living. As people grow into and build their lives, they inevitably find themselves at the mercy of the weather gods; whether at their best in spring’s beauty or languishing in the long summer dusks, or in the midst of wet November rain, these forces we do not see but are always present in our lives are all sites for exploration and healing, even if hard-won. The speakers in these poems suggest – through the relationships they build and the natural miracles they witness – that the often unsettling, muddy act of living our lives is worthwhile. This book asks us to see the world through knowing eyes: nothing is off-limits and nothing is forgotten.
This is where the gods roam and find themselves at our dinner table eating pound cake. In The Weather Gods, Sarah Etlinger reminds us that what we do in our small moments are what makes us immortal. We are reminded of how the same hands used to slaughter chickens are the ones we want to hold us the closest. These poems are both quiet and constantly blooming. Just when we find ourselves comfortable, Etlinger moves us to a less familiar place, which is at the core of this collection’s success. I had long been a fan of Etlinger’s poems before reading The Weather Gods, but this exquisite world is one I’ll constantly return to—with a blanket in tow and an afternoon to fall in love with.
Derrick Harriell, author of Ropes and Stripper in Wonderland
Sarah Etlinger’s The Weather Gods is, at its core, about holding faith for broken things. Be it a bird’s wing, the heater in an old car, or a chicken’s neck. If your broken thing is a heart, you’ll find hope here for that, too.
Lannie Stabile, author of Good Morning to Everyone Except Men Who Name Their Dogs Zeus
Sarah Etlinger’s The Weather Gods finds the intriguing and aesthetic glories between the expected spaces. There is a plurality of faith (or the lack thereof), love, beingness, and beauty. I admire the way that Etlinger connotes the sensuality in some objects—like hands—and the utility of them in the same breath, and how she captures the mutability of self. The Weather Gods is a delicate volume balancing so much. You’ll want to turn to it again and again.
DeMisty D. Bellinger, author of Peculiar Heritage and Rubbing Elbows
Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she is the author of two chapbooks: Never One for Promises (Kelsay Books, 2018); and Little Human Things (Clare Songbirds, 2020). Her work is featured in places like Pank!, Spry Literary, and many others. She runs poetry workshops for adolescents and adults, often at libraries or at the community college where she works. Her interests include baking, cooking, traveling, and music. Follow her on social media at www.sarahetlinger.com or @drsaephd.