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Titles / ONE by Haley Lasché

by Haley Lasch

Published October 2023
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Haley Lasché is the co-founder and co-editor of the poetry press Beauty School Editions and the founder editor and designer of the literary magazine Concision Poetry Journal. She teaches writing and literature courses at colleges and universities in and around St. Paul, Minnesota. She also has two poetry chapbooks: Where It Leads (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016) and Blood and Survivor (Locofo Chaps, 2017). One is her premier poetry collection.


In these poems of great story, sound, and song, we are unmoored from any place we've known before. As our climate changes, so must our language of understanding. ONE exposes our readerly narcissism as we keep hunting for ourselves, for a 'proper' reflection of us, for a speaker. There is a sharpness to the chance and mystery in the unnaming that happens in Haley Lasché's collection.

-LM Brimmer

The waterfall calliope extravaganza of words is the point. The gathering of pieces, places, creatures of our earth is the point. The deep, almost desperate love of language is the point. The poet's faith that language is enough is the point: an end keeps coming / or a series of endings never resolves // three cranes wear time down to the bones of the road//it will all go to good use. Oh, my goodness. I think of Bachelard proclaiming that real poets dream and write in seasons. Haley Lasché takes us so deep into sense perception of the life and death of seasons we can believe the book itself will never end, or will end, then begin again. Eyes open and eyes close throughout the book, images from the surface art of our home, the earth, and the secret intensity under the earth which grants us season after season. Here's a book that claims its subject with ferocity and beauty. Read ONE.

-Deborah Keenan

Haley Lasché uses innovative language to express to a reader what her speaker sees, feels/touches, tastes, hears. The first poem begins "a story told from one eye to the next / turns its content away/ slimy roots gradiating to dry blades / one runs at the side of the bank/ exposing a nest woven in cat tail/ pushing crusts of grasshoppers out of crater/ one glosses the moon to quiver/ in the marrow held holy from slim veins." The evocative mystery of "a story told from one eye to the next" will give readers a subtle sense of synesthesia, which then expands and can be explored in the startling sensory information of the next lines. Thus her readers are able to live these experiences with her, finding for themselves what is at stake in these events. Lasché uses tropes and metaphors in provocative ways, which offer to readers an array of interrelated meanings. As one reads from poem to poem, one finds that the text has a tonal integrity, which allows readers to feel they can recognize, and become familiar with, her speaking agent. "eyes open to a fresh sage wound / eyes open a silphium stage / eyes close a poultice of frame wood / the ache of tender barley rusts on the stalk." She has an excellent ear for variation, for sonic syncopation, for word choice. So many of the poems suggest the ways our planet is being destroyed by our human interventions, while avoiding polemics. This is a work for all who are willing to risk seeing through our denials, and all who are ready to act on that understanding.

-Rusty Morrison

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