Seamlessly bridging the material and spiritual worlds, Seedlip and Sweet Apple takes the reader into the mind of a true visionary: Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker religion in colonial America. With astonishingly original poems inspired by extensive historical research, Arra Lynn Ross creates a collection linked thematically through the voice and story of the woman who was believed by her followers to be Christ incarnate. Broadly and inclusively spiritual, this remarkable debut captures the ineffable experience of ecstatic vision, activating the progression from literal reality to heightened perception. Simultaneously, this journey delves into the manifold issues of gender and religion, public image, and charismatic leadership, as well as the line between cult and commune and the tenuous bond between faith and behavior. Written in an impressive cornucopia of forms — including iambic quatrains, free verse, and prose poems — Seedlip and Sweet Apple honors a complex figure startlingly relevant to contemporary life, pointing to a revolutionary way to work at living — and to live in working — that promises simplicity, peace, and joy.
“[An appled laugh. . .]” and “[As fingers in water. . .].” Selections from the long poem “The Magdalene Tower.” Cave Wall, Number 16. Winter 2019/Spring 2020.
Excerpt from “The Magdalene Tower.” Denver Quarterly. Volume 52.4, 2018.
Excerpt from “The Magdalene Tower.” Prairie Schooner. Spring 2018.
Note: was chosen for a Glenna Luschei Award. Spring 2019.
“Learn To Sing By Singing” Broadside. Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Print Artist: Katie Platte.
“Learn to Sing by Singing” on Linebreak.
“In the Foothills” and “From III.” Yamasee Journal.
“[How I Set Her Down].” Tupelo Quarterly. Volume I: Q1.
“Mother Ann Tells Lucy What Gave Her Joy.” Academy of American Poets.
“Eat” on Verse Daily.
“Heiros Gamos” and “A Means of Approach to Ecstasy.” Prairie Schooner. Vol. 85, Number 2, Summer 2011.