Breaking the Glass (Loonfeather Press. 2008)
Breaking the Glass is a book of fierce heart and strong hands, glinting recognitions, and hard-won perception. Its many brief, bright shard-poems, especially, cut through surface consciousness, bringing the reader to unexpected and moving comprehension. Vulnerable with longing, fully alive, LouAnn Muhm’s words ring resonantly true.
LouAnn Muhm writes finely honed poems that are spare but never slight, and taut with the truth. Images and metaphors are planted with economy and precision, nurtured, and given the space and time to breathe and develop. Every word is made to pull its weight. There’s deadpan humour and pure joy, too, in a collection filigreed with an involving emotional arc, told in a distinctive voice that’s understated but always gently insistent and humane.
LouAnn Muhm’s graceful lyrics often end with a sudden twist of insight that hits the reader like a gust of wind…or a gentle breeze. I am particularly taken by her epigrammatic gems and poems that are Zen-like in their mysterious reflections. This poet glimpses the spiritual from the corner of her eye and shares the vision with us.
Breaking the Glass was a finalist for the Midwest Book Award.
Dear Immovable (Pudding House Press. 2006)
Our names and the names we give the important things in our lives are powerful, as are memories, and both seem to hold this collection together: the naming that helps create us and the naming that we redefine through memories. This chapbook is a quick and easy read—the poems spare and imagist, intimate and clear snapshots of the compartments we form to define ourselves. I recommend it to those who like contemporary, non-pretentious, free verse poetry.
Review by Shaun Perkins, womenwriters.net
I like the minimalism of this collection – it seems to suit the wide-open spaces of the Mid West and Great Plains, where all this is set (Muhm is from Minnesota), and it helps build one of the book’s themes, that anything worth having is likely to be hard-won.
There are also, as I mentioned before, both highly personal moments and humour in there, but she resists the temptation to overdo either, and the result is a collection that hangs together well, with a glimpsed rather than spelt-out back story.
Review by Matthew Merritt, Polyolbion