“Go back there now,” instructs Paige Riehl in “Hometown,” “back before you were / this adult who won’t / return in body” . . . And that’s just what these wonderful poems do. But these are not poems of simplistic nostalgia: these are poems that capture, so beautifully, the yearning and apprehension felt at the cusp of adulthood; that explore the complex blend of sadness and relief that comes with escaping, at least physically, the landscapes of our youth. These poems remind us that such intimate landscapes—both internal and external—create, for better or worse, the very kernel of who we are.
—Jude Nutter, author of The Curator of Silence and I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman
“It is not so easy to conjure a world in a collection of poems. In Paige Riehl’s remarkable book, we readers enter the world she has made for us, and it is a real world that compels our attention and affection. This poet brings her past to life, but these poems do not just do memory work. Yes, the poems reveal a world, but they are sustained by the poet’s wisdom, and deepened by her understanding about what fate and choice have dealt her. Blood Ties is a beautiful collection. Read these poems, and welcome a new and wonderful voice.”
—Deborah Keenan, author of Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems