Hold Sway, Sally Ball


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Hold Sway gives us that moment when our inner life meets the elements, meets something much vaster than ourselves, in poems as fearsome as they are astounding in their beauty… I love how the nuanced journey into the world of one’s mind quickly becomes an acute social commentary, and the direct, uncompromising look which this poet takes at us, at our lives. Watch it! one poem implores: I love the cool bravery with which Ball watches us.”
—Ilya Kaminsky

“The poems in Hold Sway are full of living… Ball is not seeking a remedy; rather, she is building a
demand to look beyond ‘naming what you’ve done,’ an imperative which constantly reveals the core
of this collection, ‘[her] own heart unanswered.’ Somewhere in all of her unmade and unmaking is a
space where we might find ourselves again or even for the first time.”
—Natalie Diaz

from Sally Ball's new collection ???? ????: 'Or maybe I’m the river after all. / Coursing,/ a body that unfurls even as it’s held.' Click To Tweet

from “Invitation If I Can Remember How“:

I am a bucket. Fill me up?

I am the kind of metal thing you hate to touch
because the clang is unpleasant to the ear. Always a scrape 
against no-matter-the-grit.
Maybe you can use water from the river. 

Maybe you can plunge your face in, 

open your eyes.

Or maybe I’m the river after all. 

a body that unfurls even as it’s held. 
Which lasts, this current, this ongoing,

maybe it lasts.


Sally Ball is the author of Wreck Me and Annus Mirabilis, both from Barrow Street. She is an associate director of Four Way Books and an associate professor of English at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix.