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This Fragile Husk by Beth Grindstaff



“It is a harrowing and wondrous journey down the river of Beth Grindstaff’s poems in her book This Fragile Husk. The poet—scarred and bruised as we all are—is full of mettle despite the title of this book. No flower gardens here but plenty of grit. These are poems of the soul, but they are not sweet. They’re cutthroat poems that slice you open and remind you how much living hurts, how “once you live through a thing, it becomes you.” The living and the dead commune seamlessly here. Beth’s deft ear for rhythm and the magic of repetition, her sensibility and insight, create a memorable book of tough and remarkable poems. Her voice is clear and sure.”

–CASSANDRA ROBISON, poet, professor and author, Robison has three chapbooks of poems and a textbook titled Writing and Understanding Poetry: for Teachers and Students (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015). Dr. Robison is Faculty Emerita at the College of Central Florida where she taught creative writing and advised the award winning literary magazine, Imprints.


Beth Grindstaff’s short, urgent lines explore the fragmented, failing human husk at odds with the heart that refuses to forsake desire. At the center of the text stoops the heroic body, tragic in its fragility. Physical pain and impending loss invert Grindstaff’s verse from the typical princess tale, but if the poet dispenses with Happily Ever After, she never forsakes magic wrought from the hands of helpers. Still, Grindstaff’s collection insists that it’s alone we must forge forward. The speaker-voice illustrates the soul’s journey, solitary, grand in its inevitable bodilessness, confronting its mortal breakability “with steel and hope and ardor.”

–Lisa Hoffman-Reyes, Ph.D. is a professor of English Literature at Pierce College in Lakewood, WA.


“The husk may, indeed, be fragile, but the spirit beats on with remarkable resilience in Beth Grindstaff’s remarkable first collection of poems, This Fragile Husk.” Ultimately, this deeply personal look into the abyss is about the spirit’s ability to survive even if its only voice is incantation in words so finely wrought that their edges scar. Grindstaff pushes the poetic envelope with imagery and metaphor that are at time dazzling in their originality yet remain deeply primordial. This is a collection that reveals more of itself with each reading. I can think of no higher compliment.”

–JUDE DIPPOLD, author of one chapbook, “Crossings.” His poetry has been published in literary magazines at Jamestown Community College, the College of Central Florida, and most recently in Exult Press’ “The Yes Book, Writings About Yes.”

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]





This Fragile Husk

by Beth Grindstaff

$14.99, paper

Beth Grindstaff has been writing poetry since she could hold a crayon. From a very young age, words both captivated and enthralled her, and she made it her business to harness their power to the best of her ability. She had a poem published in a local newspaper when she was 13, and went on to be a regular contributor to her high school and college literary magazines, The Warcry and Echoes and Images, respectively. She has had work published in several other anthologies, including Fresh Breath and The Golden Wings. In April 2013 she won a poetry slam hosted by ETSU and was subsequently invited to interview and read her work on Women on Air, a weekly radio show aired on WETS-FM.

Beth has experienced many losses, trials, and challenges in her lifetime, including the sudden death of her father in 2009 and a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2015. She works hard to be a light in the world, to remain positive, to hold love as the highest ideal, and to thrive in spite of her difficulties. She hopes her work will offer respite and harbor to those weathering their own storms.

Beth is also an avid cyclist and animal lover and enjoys spending time with her family. She lives in Johnson City, Tennessee, with her amazing partner, a cat named Mrs. Pooh, and the apple of her eye: a rescued pit bull/boxer mix named Abby.


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