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California Review of Books, "31 Outstanding Poetry Books from 2023:"
Turner is one of those poets who appears capable of turning just about any observation or experience into a successful poem. At the end of the book, her simmering argument with capitalism explodes into a paroxysm of rage: “The money fishing in your toxic money Breathing / In your bed The money till it suffocates Is separated / By your money Is detained by it and for it Is mined / Is killed for.”

review by Lisa Russ Spaar, The Adroit Journal
The Upstate is a world off-kilter, where tenses shift and expected nocturnal and diurnal patterns are distorted. Yet despite these intense evocations of cultural and personal depression and worry, the narrator in these pieces is not inured to moments of beauty, even guarded hope. “The dry leaves on the floor in the hallway scared me,” she writes in the first “The Upstate,” “Maybe like love as it curled somewhere deep in the chest.” In another poem, also called “The Upstate,” even as the speaker wonders how she and her partner can “survive / living in the place I left by choice,” she notes the “roadside goldenrod / season of contentment / of the beast.”

review by Léon Pradeau, Chicago Review:
...the majority of political perspectives in Turner’s work comes from individual, minor acts of perception—the careful, painstaking work of squinting, noticing, acknowledging. From her dense use of adverbs and locators in poems like “The Upstate” to repetition and loops in “The Capitals,” Turner makes it clear that nothing is evident about perception and orientation: this is a continuation of an aesthetics she named, in her previous book Songs & Ballads, “visual difficulty.” She does not attempt to restore objects and landscapes to a readily usable and visible coherence, but to relay their difficult textures and the way they disorient us. [...] Her disorientations challenge us to keep a sharp perspective on what surrounds us, in reading and living: they are invitations to explore for ourselves “what might outlast."

review by Rona Cran,
Los Angeles Review of Books:
Echoing through The Upstate, in addition to the voices of the animals and plant life of southern Appalachia, we hear those of writers as varied as Denise Levertov, Frank O’Hara, W. B. Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Bob Kaufman, Gary Snyder, and even Stephen King, poets of saxifrage and phone calls to the beyond, of second comings and unlikely survival. It is “September / and everything hot and trembling” (“The Compass”): great changes are afoot, and like those contemplating the “harms and fears” of the “[m]oving of th’earth” in John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” it’s easy to become fixated not just on what is happening but also on what it means. While The Upstate is about making meaning out of disaster, it also attends, powerfully, to the “trepidation of the spheres” (“The Compass”); to “what’s strange” (“New City”) or beyond our control, linguistically and otherwise; to the beautiful and resilient, the unruly and unsanctioned.


Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune (“Best Poetry Collections of 2018”):
“Turner refuses rustic nostalgia, her critique of what William Blake called ‘the Ratio’ an elegy for the future. Mega-fires sweep through the garbage piling at the feet of a storefront angel: ‘couldn’t turn around and go back if we wanted to/ like handfuls of gravel/ the storm couldn’t turn around if it wanted to.'”
Publishers Weekly review:
“Turner dazzles in a debut of postmodern arrangements that challenge contemporary poetry’s relative lack of overt song-like structure. She sings of the unnoticed or the decidedly ugly; for example, there are songs of “household goods,” “insurance,” and “towns.” In “Risk Management Song,” she writes, “so we commissioned a document/ about sustenance and the city’s pores/ metaphors of food and skin/ for when the water rises.” Over the subsequent five quatrains, Turner varies the closing refrain until she ends where she started: “for when the water rises// gathered all of us around// glossy invulnerable tables/ to hear and judge a list of songs/ the agents recognize.” […] Turner just might inspire some readers to sing.“

"Lindsay Turner's ravishing SONGS & BALLADS takes account of colors, architectures, skies, and the many ways the world is speculatively used and re-used for short-term ends. When to refrain? Refrain now, hold back from harm now, hold on to the world now and now, these elegiac, mysteriously worldy poems sing." (Catherine Wagner)

"'The sunlight was prettier for its uneven distribution,' observes Lindsay Turner, alerting us to the collectivist imperative subtending perception itself. 'Oh share it, share it.'  SONGS & BALLADS re-imagines historical poetics - what's the ragged quatrain's job?' - as a critique of our unsustainable political economies. Employing recursive forms from the Medieval ballad to Modernism's differential repetitions, Turner's contemporary stanzas in meditation remediate 'a range of arrangements / demanding attention' for the continuous present. Whether it be 'the pentagons of space in the chainlink' or 'what the animals we saw never knew,' we find, in this work, a world on the verge: 'all systems go and some places broken.'" (Srikanth Reddy)

"Witty, mordant, despairing, yet peculiarly refreshing poems: Lindsay Turner has done the thing few can do - she has made lyric critical; she makes thought sing. 'Tuesday and I want an image / of the ecological condition / these raindrops just aren't normal." These are incantations of and against a seeping duress - with weird skies, ugly offices, bank holidays, ominous weather, bad feelings and wrong life. Her antennae quiver in this mood of disaster, as her poems become a 'keeper of our collective distress.' Songs, ballads, ditties, fractured meditations: these poems offer a countermeasure, a countersong against the modern regime of blighting calculation. With their beguiling and wrong-footing music, these poems keep time and keep our time; they are insistent, seductive, surprising. The ocean, love, a day's measure: are they 'nothing to us'? Are we 'good for nothing'? Keenly intelligent poems of dispossession and divestiture, they crack a smart whip in their ludic and paradoxically soulful deadpan." (Maureen N. McLane)

review by Devin King, Berfrois
“I don’t know about you, but this is how I change the words to Bowie songs that I personalize for my baby or my cats—slowly, inconsequentially, but then all of a sudden the id takes over and we’re in the darker territory of angels.”
review by Rob McLennan
“The idea of the ‘song’ holding a series of truths, histories and commentaries is, obviously, one of the oldest methods of record-keeping and composition, and Turner writes her own Songs & Ballads with that in mind, combined with a deeply engaged ecopoetic.”

with Zach Savich, Tupelo Quarterly
12 or 20 questions (second series), Rob McLennan’s blog

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