"The strife between strife and its other has a content all its own in this fucked up world, where we have to live the unliveable. That dialectic is irreducible. The necessity of pleasure is irreducible especially when and because it seems obscene. Poetry is suppose to show that, even more than it’s supposed to remark upon that and Cecily Nicholson’s work does this at the highest level of intensity! Wayside Sang ’s wayward swing makes small, pulsing disunities of pulse like the muffled but still multiphonic heartbeat of the earth. The song of the earth, old and new, is sung at a place by the side of the road. Wayside’s social logic sang this then and now, on edge and over it, underneath and inside outskirts of the city where we stay and the commune that we follow."
—Fred Moten, Author of A Poetics of the Undercommons
“Cecily Nicholson’s poetry expresses a deep solidarity extended across time and space, and across divisions between the human and nonhuman, animate and inanimate. … Wayside Sang is a book of road poetry, a text in modern mechanized movement across “landscapes built for cars.” … This is a border-erasing poetry … The history of racialized oppression is obviously complex enough on its own; work like Nicholson’s nevertheless sends us out to imagine both the deepest possible structures and extensions of human alienation, as well as the most personally affective forms such oppressions can take. Poetry is all the better off for the challenge of this work — for both its love, and for its lunacy.”
"As if one poem was the sum of one hundred minds, Nicholson’s poetry seems like it should not be possible. Should not be possible, yet she shows us how words can reveal the clock parts of a steel beam or silences of a carpet bomb. Within a short run, she pulls off impossible internal harmonies of definition and image. Reinventions of logic, reinventions of scale, reinventions of blues and jazz run triumphantly through this masterpiece. Nicholson’s poetry is the confidence of a people who stand against oppressors, and can declare that all prophets belong to us."
—Tongo Eisen-Martin, Author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes
"Cecily Nicholson takes us through the North American landscape marked by machinery, memory and imagination in poetry that is angry and yet tender, beautiful and painful. She shows us how we can and cannot be on these lands that we cannot yet land on, these “muddy places of manufacture” that coerce relations to industry and separates us from land and kin. These are poems that are fierce, poems that are of love."
—Juliane Okot Bitek, Author of 100 Days
“Nicholson’s work has long been engaged in the book length poem/suite, but there is something about this new collection that holds itself together as a complex breath, constructed as a single, ongoing line. … Through Wayside Sang, Nicholson composes her own songs to the wayside, and the music of her lines is unmistakable.”
“Wayside Sang “feels like gravel and grit in your mouth. Nicholson writes about destroyed industrial landscapes and communities, letting the us picture the small, worn out towns struggling to maintain themselves in the face of environmental and industry changes. … Maybe this is what poetry is really about – finding connections in strange places between things that we would never have seen without a poem to show us.”
—Alli Vail, Reading Writers Fest blog