A poetic expose of girlhood, obsession, and the CSI industry.

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 Poetry finalist:

Find the Girl
Lightsey Darst
Coffee House Press
Category Sponsor: Wellington Management


An excerpt from an interview with Lightsey Darst:

“My personal metaphor for writing this book is the city of Troy, built and destroyed over and over in the same place.  Each time I rewrote the manuscript I had more of an idea what I was aiming at. The final version is really a novel in my mind, not a collection of poems.”

From Snow White to JonBenét Ramsey, this lyrical debut examines the change from girlhood to womanhood and America’s interest in missing and exploited children. 


Lightsey Darst is a writing instructor, dance critic, and dancer who lives in Minneapolis. The recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, her poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, Diagram, Gulf Coast, Monkey Bicycle, New Letters, and elsewhere.

Check out “6 Questions We Always Ask” – Mnnesota Reads’ Jodi Chromey recently interviewed Darst


“I was impressed with the ranges of language, history, myth, and intellect in Find the Girl. And Darst’s poems aren’t merely smart, they have heart and guts, too, deftly avoiding the superficial titillation that so often accompanies the stories of dead girls.” – MN Book Awards preliminary judge

Find the Girl is such an original and important look at violence against girls and women. This topic is visible all the time in our culture, but it is wrapped up as entertainment, news, or myth. Lightsey Darst’s book sees that, and then addresses it in its own disturbing language. It’s hard to read, and important, and incredibly smart.”  – MN Book Awards preliminary judge

“Most remarkably, these poems give us a chance to see the fine line between the girls we have been ourselves and the lost girls who never became women.” – Heid E. Erdrich, author of three collections of poems and winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry

“A terrific collection… Full of horror, bleak humor, and suspense, these poems read like mini-thrillers, daring you to put the book down.” – Entertainment Weekly

“[Darst] dives in, turning gruesome forensics into the filigree of poetry, and examining the strange pall that dead-girl culture … throws over the adolescence of real girls.” – MinnPost


This segment aired as part of mn original show #209. Dance, nature and the world around us inspire the musings of poet and dance critic Lightsey Darst. A published poet, Darst is now working on her second book, Dance – a trilogy inspired by hell, earth and heaven.


Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Each year in the weeks leading up to the Minnesota Book Awards gala, all Minnesotans are invited to take part in voting for the Readers’ Choice Award. Vote online now through the end of March at TwinCities.com. Please, only one vote per person.

Have you read Find the Girl? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!


Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: