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Imagine a Town

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Imagine a Town resonates with a strong sense of how hard work (and hard play) shapes the lives of those growing up in a blue-collar community. These poems sing with the earned authority of witness—sharp, clear details etched on the page. Memory casts its spell here not in simple nostalgia, but through a fierce examination and an urge toward preservation as a way of honoring this heritage. She mourns the losses while finding those small moments that sustain us through those losses. Relying on a strong sense of craft and form, Sabol wastes not a word here in these tight, emotionally packed poems.”


― Jim Daniels, author of The Perp Walk


The poems in Imagine A Town reveal how a confederacy of places—a hometown, adopted city, a neighborhood—conspires to shape identity, especially when one’s sense of self butts up against the values and expectations embraced by that place. These narratives convey how a girl’s long view is foreshortened by smokestacks, slim resources, and the rough Alleghenies circling her blue-collar existence. Self-discovery also manifests through a reckoning of events outside the kitchen window, and in the wider world. Conversely, distance from the speaker’s origins gently tightens the grasp of that place as she reconciles inevitable losses and regrets exacted by her departure. Memories of coming-of-age in a time of milkmen and trolley cars prompt a visitation to a hometown that’s taken up residence in the poet’s imagination as she journeys through place and time. Also infusing these poems is the tension of a constructed suburban world imposed on the natural world, such that the sight of a buck in a neighbor’s yard startles a renewed connection with nature, and an awareness of deeper losses. The concept of home, a longing to belong, and the risks and rewards of carving an outsider existence lie at the beating heart of this collection.

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