Come In, We're Open means just that. Once across the threshold of the Woodlawn Diner, . . . we sit down to strong coffee and such panorama that we stay and stay. . . . This collection demands that we value differently what seems quotidian, remain curious, suspend disbelief a few moments longer . . . .
--Ralph Burns, judge for the 2009 Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition
Sara Ries invites us into the complex, intimate world of a small diner with such authority that I can almost hear a bell ring above the door with each new poem. She writes with a complete lack of pretense, with a straightforward, authoritative voice that reveals the truth in the small daily details and exchanges of the diner. This fine debut collection illustrates how a place and its people stay with you, become part of you, no matter how far away you may be.
Sara Ries writes with guts, grace and compassion. Whether she’s writing from the perspective of waitress, daughter, lover or friend, her poems are full-hearted celebrations of the hard-working people in her life. These poems offer comfort for the soul and a welcome respite for weary travelers: Come In, they say, We’re Open.
---Sheryl St. Germain
Ries seats us in a booth, pours us coffee, serves us bacon and eggs, and not only introduces us to the patrons, stragglers, and workers, but with tenderness, an almost preternatural insight, and sublime humor, helps us to know and love each and every one of them.
With her recipe of wit and tenderness, Ries reaches out to touch the denim sleeve of one diner’s lonely customers – the factory workers, the truckers, the insomniacs, the rest of us. Sara Ries’s poems are love songs for the forgotten or never-noticed; her voice and attentiveness are heartbreak itself.