The Swagger of Dorothy Gale
& Other Filthy Ways to Strut2016 Winner of the Prairie Seed Poetry Prize
About the book
The Swagger of Dorothy Gale & Other Filthy Ways to Strut is a visceral and sonic world of teeth and tornadoes exploring a muddied version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz fantasy. Dorothy is reimagined as a girl with “some grit in her teeth” examining “marvellous gray ghosts in the heartland”. Satirical and poignant with narratives that romp and strut across the lines, this collection startles and swirls contemporary issues of race, equality, and place in the dusty plains of Kansas, seeking to understand the real meaning of “there’s no place like home.”
Prairie Seed Poetry Prize Judge,
Creative Writing & Environment, Iowa State University
"There are so many things that I love about this manuscript— in particular, its vibrant energy. The poems are, at turns, exuberant, outward, historical, irreverent, revisionist, and playful. They swagger. The manuscript enriches the picture of what complex forces, people, and events shape the Midwest—this place we know to be unique and distinctive. When The Swagger of Dorothy Gale and Other Filthy Ways to Strut is published, I know it will be a real romp of a read."
Author of "Diamond Grove Slave Tree" and "Barbarian at the Gate"
“With uncontainable joy I ask the literary world to celebrate with me this striking debut collection of poetry from emerging author Sea Sharp. In The Swagger of Dorothy Gale & Other Filthy Ways to Strut, poet, naturalist, revisionist-self-exiled Midwesterner; Sea Sharp harvests a bounty of language that allows the reader to sing with the cicadas, dance with sonic dexterity, rise with the corn, proclaim the vernacular as song and hymn. This collection will, quite frankly, ‘Knock your breaths out.’ Behold, a monument of new American poetry.”
2009 - 2013 Poet Laureate of Kansas
“Sea Sharp arrives just in time as an original, vibrant, and important voice. Their poetry in this debut collection The Swagger of Dorothy Gales & Other Filthy Ways to Strut gives voice—through re-imaging and deeply questioning the myths at the heart of one of America’s most iconic stories—to history and politics, especially related to African-American women as well as prairie rhythms and dangers. All the time, they write with great music, a genius for dialogue and image, sharp critiques and bright wit, and in ways utterly powerful and tender.”
University Distinguished Professor, Kansas State University
“Did you think you knew Kansas? Did you think it was Metro- Goldwyn-Myer, the Oregon Technicolor trail or bust? Nope. Black-and-white, degrees of gray, and the power of shoes and the dancing, strutting, bullshit-stomping, culture-journeying feet that can wear them or take them right off—Sea Sharp’s buoyant poems kick at the margins and don’t care if the roof comes down. By turns insouciant, clairvoyant, ansty and pissed-off, this collection sings, shouts, and shouts-out. Be sure to listen.”
Author of "The Dead Eat Everything"
“A kind of postmodern country ballad, but realer and more fun, The Swagger of Dorothy Gale croons. Sea Sharp explores the many costumes and under-costumes that make up identity in the Midwest, writing, for example, ‘I was a rodeo (I am a rodeo),’ tracing not exactly the geography of our bodies but instead the geographies that our bodies can’t help but be a part of. I mean, this book has it all: heart, imagination, and a good ear for the music we too often forget.”
Author of "What My Hand Say"
“We dance with Sea Sharp in between the pages of this book and we are left spent and more realized by an ability to conjure such raw and unshakeable truths. We turn every which way, but loose, because Sea catches us up by expertly conducting gale forces. We turn each page to understand what it means to be the loneliest black girl in all of Kansas or what it is like to burn bright ‘like the holy hallelujah of the sun.’ We twist, because there’s so much to witness when Dorothy is re-imagined and recreated as black, really black. She struts and we follow, because there’s so much to learn about Sharp’s Kansas, when Sea imagistically swaggers and deftly leads us with wit. The choreography of wind, rain turned raging storm is brilliant in The Swagger of Dorothy Gale and Other Filthy Ways to Strut.”
2007 - 2009 Kansas Poet Laureate
“‘Dorothy Gale was really a black girl,’” writes Sea Sharp in this revisionist view of the Wizard of Oz family. This first book of poetry upends stereotypes of the American Midwest with swashbuckling language that delights as it informs and overcomes.”