New Books Network

Sarah Adleman

The Lampblack Blue of Memory

My Mother Echoes

Tolsun Books 2019

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in LiteratureNew Books in PoetryNew Books Network April 23, 2020 Athena Dixon

The Houston Chronicle’s review of Sarah Adleman’s The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes (Tolsun 2019) praises that the book “dissects the feelings...

The Houston Chronicle’s review of Sarah Adleman’s The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes (Tolsun 2019) praises that the book “dissects the feelings that have been a part of her since her mother’s death with the precision and brutality of a poet and all the awful beauty of a perfectly performed major surgery…It’s one of the most beautiful things you’re likely to read.”

Adleman’s collection, a gorgeous hybrid of poetry and memoir, is a journey through grief and forgiveness. The author’s debut book uses both the personal and the informative to examine and preserve the loss, grief, and cleansing set in motion by her mother’s death. She honors her mother not only in the crafting of these shared memories, but also in the actual formatting of the text itself. Adleman gives her mother voice by including her own work interwoven throughout the retelling. The author does not shy away from the heaviness of absence, her personal reaction to the events, and especially not the profound changes to her father. She unfurls these emotions in the light and scrubs away the haze. She leaves us with the “bliss at the core of our beings” and challenges us to walk beside her to the other side.

Sarah Adleman was born and raised between the bayous of Houston, the swamps of Louisiana, and the desert of El Paso. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh, studied yoga in India, and taught English in China. Sarah earned her MFA from The University of Texas at El Paso and works as a Certified Yoga Therapist specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury survivors. Her work has been published, acknowledged, or is forthcoming in Kindred Magazine, Terrene, Glimmer Train, and America Writers Review. Sarah’s first book The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes is a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction and for the Eric Hoffer/da Vinci Eye Award. She lives in Denver with her husband, almost two year old son, and their thirteen year old dog.


Athena Dixon is a NE Ohio native, poet, essayist, and editor. Her essay collection, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, is forthcoming from Split/Lip Press (2020). Athena is also the author of No God in This Room, a poetry chapbook (Argus House Press). Her poetry is included in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Books). Learn more at www.athenadixon.com