Harris creates authentic life in response to racist and sexist systems of power that have and continue to fix, dominate, and do violence to the 'living tongue.' As she asks in the title poem:
Who will not use the heart
would not use it
and how hard must a heart be
to break. They say it is a fist
pounding on a bolted door.
Does it want in or out?
Her own acrobatic, vital collection of voices answers: the heart wants its pounding to be heard. It wants both to be allowed in and set free.
"We Are All Strange Travelers:" Stephanie Ford's All Pilgrim
Fifth Wednesday Journal, Spring 2016
Ford's poems present readers with a haunting mixture of beauty, trash, and absence. Her attention blends blooming and shimmering particulars of nature — larkspur, lark, stand of aspen, red nasturtium — with cheap and disposable human creations — "the Kum & Go's plastic thatch," Nyquil, Styrofoam, "permanent eyebrows." Ford fights to stay present in this hybrid landscape with its disheartening contrasts of contemporary American landscape. Poem after poem reminds readers that, despite the desire for even eyebrows to last, everything human is temporary — the body, work, war, buildings, monuments, and, ultimately, the species. As Ford writes, "history rates us as hiccup, as blip."
Karen Skolfield's Frost in the Low Areas, Nicole Rollender's Bone of My Bone, Katie Ford's Blood Lyrics
Literary Mama, October 2015
Motherhood does indeed create many ways of knowing. Skolfield shows readers what we can know through play and exploration "because / it's a new day, isn't it, and anything can happen." Rollender shows readers that we can know through leaps of association and prayer, trying "to catch God / whole" while "the dead finger door knobs / because they can't forget." Ford shows readers that love's intensity can carry us beyond logic and back to know through compassion. And that compassion might be the strongest weapon to fight "each hibernation, / each lightly drugged feather, each stun and lie."