Poet and Traveler

River Electric With Light

River Electric with Light

Winner of the AROHO Poetry Prize

“I’m in awe of Sarah Wetzel’s skill for fusing intensity with precision, Biblical vision with everyday observation, go-for-broke abandon with consummate care. Few contemporary poets have Wetzel’s genuine, theological imagination. Even fewer are able to render that imagination with such sensuous skill―a skill that masterfully balances ‘delicious disorder’ with abiding formal intelligence. River Electric with Light is a superb collection.” ―Peter Campion

Buy from IndieBound, Amazon, Book Depository, or Barnes&Noble

Read a couple of poems from the book on Superstition Review

Sarah Wetzel's stunning second collection of poems, River Electric with Light, is a work of pilgrimage, a work in search of the sacred and the spiritually significant. Touching down in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Kabul, New York, and Rome, Wetzel's poems, ranging from lyric meditations to discursive drama, weave themselves from her life as wife, lover, stepmother, and traveler. She names the force propelling her River—"If I must choose a word for you, / let it be the word / for what flows," she writes. At times joyful, at times grief-ridden, Wetzel's poems accumulate associatively pulling slivers of secular solace from a world where violence infuses the body, the landscape, and even dreams, recognizing that while: "Our lives are always half over. / There's still time." -- Tracy K. Smith

“This collection is enigmatic, transversive, transformative. There is a movement within its pages―between sections and poems, between concepts and experiences―that is reminiscent of the Italian notion of attraversiamo; crossing over, moving on, getting to another place. . . . [it] is electric with a brilliant lyricism that pulls the reader like a current through shifting locales, political commentary, and mindful meditations on religion, relationship, life and death. A lyricism so stunning that a respected poet recently observed, 'I’d like to write fifty books just so I could use a different line from each of [these] poems as the epigraph.'“ ―Diode Poetry Review

River Electric Cover.jpg


“Sarah Wetzel writes ‘My worship of rivers is a worship of what flows’ and that reverence is omnipresent in her collection River Electric with Light. The poems flow and like rivers, everything is carried with its current―meaning, insight, feelings, images. Like a natural river, its banks ‘blur’ and overflow. This is a wonderful collection of poems that beckons the reader to dive in, to flow, and be swept to surprise. Like a good river journey, once you’ve finished River Electric with Light, you’ll want to go back to the beginning and take the journey again.” ―J. P. Dancing Bear

Bustle writes in "13 Poetry Collections To Read For National Poetry Month": "Take yourself on a spiritual pilgrimage with Sarah Wetzel in her recent collection River Electric with Light, through which she accompanies readers to the far flung reaches of Kabul, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Rome, and New York City, exploring the violent and the sacred, the beautiful and the heart-wrenching. Wetzel is a woman simultaneously at home and away in these poems, navigating the landscape of being a partner and caretaker, with being a woman on the road―an emotional landscape as complex as the physical geography she traverses.”