"Each poem exerts a pull. With the use and juxtaposition of the simple and commonplace next to truly elevated descriptions of land and people, Ling draws us in. We are coaxed into this love relationship. ... Ling arranges the poems in a compelling storytelling epic that follows the movement and seasons of the land that she is becoming a part of. ... Here, Ling = poetry."
"Sweetgrass, by Micah Ling, is a real beauty. It starts with a lineated poem in free verse and proceeds mostly as a set of prose poems, always using clear, straightforward diction. In it, we meet cows, cowboys, and cowgirls, crows and pitchforks, and the sweetgrass of Montana."
Prick of the Spindle
"Ling writes lines like well-cured jerky; lines to wedge down by your gums, to suck on, savor, and chew over for hours. 'This is a lesson in tradition and region and routine,' Ling writes, ostensibly about 4-H but also, surely, about her own book, animated by the breath of nostalgia and the studied scent of place."
"Ling deftly conjures a world at once bright and unfamiliar. ... Caught between speeding fires and elks dressed up like punks, Sweetgrass is the kind of book you’ll get from one side to another of in a lunch hourbut I guarantee once you’ve made the journey once you’ll want to walk these ways again, and maybe drag a few other people with you."
"Sweetgrass perfectly illustrates the fate that in every life there is a story that needs to be told. Micah has chosen the precise and condensed format of the prose poems, but this could have easily been a novel."
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
This collection, consisting almost entirely of prose poems, is a compilation of moments and scenery in rural Montana, teetering with the urgency and tension that define the natural order of things for cowboy and ranch life. Through Ling’s observations and storytelling, you will become submersed into this existence, getting lost in these mountains and knowing these people.
"In Micah Ling’s Sweetgrass, we are returned to a place where 'The sky is bigger than things said, and things not said.’ Where ‘every June storm is money,’ and where the days are ‘quiet besides tire and gravel.’ In the plains, ranches, and roads into town, the reader bears the solemn understanding that the way of life, as embodied in Ling’s dulcet prose poems, is a way that is dying. But while the message of Sweetgrass is urgent, the music whistling through the grasses is alive and true. We cannot help but be fully present in these prose poems as ‘new things are born and broken.’ We cannot resist the soft tangle of Micah Ling’s radiant song.”
Oliver de la Paz, author of Requiem for the Orchard
"These voices rise, ruddy and true, from the fence lines, and approach with the steady report of tires on gravel. Soon all of it feels proximate, drawn close, around a bonfire of image and form, and the story of Sweetgrass resounds, a story as rich in intricacy and delight as any novel of the American West you know."
Tom Chiarella, fiction editor and writer at large, Esquire
“A human geography bent into natural economy. Scale for discipline in the use of daylight and the weight of what’s wild beyond it.”
Ed Pavlić, author of Winners Have Yet to Be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway
Recorded for Indiana Public Media
Ling was a finalist for a 2010 Indiana Authors Award.
Feature story in the Daily Journal.
Named a holiday gift pick by bothPhilippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. (by Oliver de la Paz) and Karen the Small Press Librarian (by Christopher Bowen).
Named a Jan-Feb 2011 Pick by Small Press Review