Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” It is in this vein that Sholeh Wolpé’s mesmerizing memoir in verse unfolds. In this lyrical and candid work, her fifth collection of poems, Wolpé invokes the abacus as an instrument of remembering. Through different countries and cultures, she carries us bead by bead on a journey of loss and triumph, love and exile. In the end, the tally is insight, not numbers, and we arrive at a place where nothing is too small for gratitude.
Above the Birch Line: Poems
Pia Pia Taavila-Borsheim Gallaudet University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PS3620.A23A66 2021 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Above the Birch Line reflects a lifetime of observation and experience, and offers glimpses of the loves, aches, and comforts that have accompanied author Pia Taavila-Borsheim along the way. Written primarily in free verse, the poems are imagistic in nature, with an ongoing metaphor of visual representations of nature, especially water. Starting with her childhood and continuing through late adulthood, Taavila-Borsheim ruminates on her parents, travels, marriage, motherhood, and finally, aging and death.
The Accidental: Poems
Gina Franco University of Arkansas Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3606.R375A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Cascading through each of the poems in Gina Franco’s The Accidental is a question: What does it mean to be human in a world where the soul is exalted but the body brutalized? Franco explores the terrain of the borderlands—not just the physical space of the American southwest, but the spaces where lines are drawn between body and soul, God and self, violence and ecstasy. Unfolding along these borders in a torrent of deep contemplation, Franco’s poems bring the reader to the line between accident and choice, delving into the role each plays in creating the lives we are born into and in determining how those lives end. A body caught in a tree after a flood—an accident—calls to mind deliberate violences: crucifixion and lynching.
Guided, even so, by a stark hopefulness, The Accidental makes a character of the soul and traces its pilgrimage from suffering toward transcendence. “The soul saw,” Franco writes, “that it saw through the wound.” This book tenders a creation myth steeped in existential philosophy and shimmering with the vernacular of the ecstatic.
Pat Mora University of Arizona Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3563.O73A66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Wine-sipping syllables, a communion of bones, impetuous pinches of chile, and parrot-sassy guacamole. With a mélange of aromas and tastes, colors and sounds, award-winning poet Pat Mora invites readers into her home in this new collection of forty-nine odes. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Odas Elemantales and reinvented with a Latina identity, Mora celebrates the ordinary in lyrics that are anything but. Her poetry is the poetry of space—house patterns and adobe constructions—and the human rhythms that happen inside. It is also the poetry of what she loves—chocolate, books, dandelions, church bells, hope, courage, and even rain. Thick with the microcultures of foodstuffs, family, places, regions, deities, spirits, and literary figures, Mora’s adobe universe is luscious and tactile, elemental and dynamic.
From family gossip and beauty secrets, to women darning hand-me-downs, to reluctant hands carrying bodies across borders, Mora traverses the tangled threads of culture, community, family, gender, and injustice. Her vivid observations together with her deft handling of symmetry and meter make her poetry uniquely insightful, subtle, and elegant. Sprinkled with Spanish and plenty of spice, each ode is a sensory flurry of mind and body. Together they make a cauldron of flavorful, simmering language. They are meant to be savored as they slowly stir the soul.
Africa Wo/Man Palava offers the first close look at eight Nigerian women writers and proposes a new vernacular theory based on their work. Flora Nwapa, Adaora Lily Ulasi, Buchi Emecheta, Funmilayo Fakunle, Ifeoma Okoye, Zaynab Alkali, Eno Obong, and Simi Bedford are the writers Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi considers. African womanism, an emerging model of female discourse, is at the heart of their writing. In their work, female resistance shifts from the idea of palava, or trouble, to a focus on consensus, compromise, and cooperation; it tackles sexism, totalitarianism, and ethnic prejudice. Such inclusiveness, Ogunyemi shows, stems from an emphasis on motherhood, acknowledging that everyone is a mother's child, capable of creating palava and generating a compromise.
Ogunyemi uses the novels to trace a Nigerian women's literary tradition that reflects an ideology centered on children and community. Of prime importance is the paradoxical Mammywata figure, the independent, childless mother, who serves as a basis for the new woman in these novels. Ogunyemi tracks this figure through many permutations, from matriarch to exile to woman writer, her multiple personalities reflecting competing loyalties—to self and other, children and nation. Such fragmented personalities characterize the postcolonial condition in their writing. Mapping geographies of pain and endurance, the work opens a space for addressing the palava between different groups of people. Valuable as the first sustained critical study of a substantial but little known body of literature, this book also counters the shortcomings of prevailing "masculinist" theories of black literature in a powerful narrative of the Nigerian world.
Against a Darkening Sky
Janet Lewis Ohio University Press, 1943 Library of Congress PS3523.E866A7 1985 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Against a Darkening Sky was original published in 1943. Set in a semi-rural community south of San Francisco, it is the story of an American mother of the mid-1930s and the sustaining influence she brings, through her own profound strength and faith, to the lives of her four growing children. Scottish by birth, but long a resident of America, Mary Perrault is married to a Swiss-French gardener. Their life in South Encina, though anything but lavish, is gay, serene, and friendly. As their children mature and the world outside, less peaceful and secure than the Perrault home, begins to threaten the equilibrium of their tranquil lives, Mrs. Perrault becomes increasingly aware of a moral wilderness rising from the physical wilderness which her generation has barely conquered.
Her struggle to influence, while not invading the lives of her children is the focus of this novel of family life during the depression years.
“At its essence, this enjoyable collection explores how nothing is ever exactly as it seems.”—Booklist
“These ingenious stories are so funny and sparkling and slyly inventive that their pain catches you by surprise, like a sunburn after a day at the beach.”—Eric Puchner
In Becky Hagenston’s fourth collection, the real and the fantastic collide in stories that span from Mississippi to Europe, and from the recent past to the near future. The characters are sex-toy sellers, internet trolls, parents, students, and babysitters—all trying to make sense of a world where nothing is quite what it appears to be. A service robot makes increasingly disturbing requests. A middle school teacher is accused of witchcraft—and realizes the accusations might be true. Two college students devise a way to avoid getting hit on in bars. A baker finds bizarre anomalies in his sourdough. A librarian follows her dead ex-husband through the Atlanta airport. In these stories, men and women confront grief, danger, loneliness, and sometimes—the strangest discovery of all—unexpected joy. Hagenston delivers a collection that is, at its weird and shining heart, about people discovering what—for better or worse—they are capable of.
Agua Santa / Holy Water
Pat Mora University of Arizona Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3563.O73A72 2007 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Drawing on oral and lyrical traditions, this book honors the grace and spirit of mothers, daughters, lovers, and goddesses. From a tribute to Frida Kahlo to advice from an Aztec goddess, the poems explore the intimate and sacred spaces of borderlands through many voices: a revolutionary, a domestic worker, a widow.
All Blue So Late: Poems
Laura Swearingen-Steadwell Northwestern University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3619.W436A78 2018 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
All Blue So Late presents the panorama of a young woman’s life as she struggles to come to terms with her place in the world. These poems look to race, gender, and American identity, plumbing the individual’s attendant grief, rage, and discomfort with these constructs.
The skeleton of this fine collection is a series of direct addresses to the author’s fourteen-year-old self, caught at the moment between girlhood and womanhood, when her perspective on everything suddenly changes. Swearingen-Steadwell’s poetic adventures through worlds within and without reveal the restlessness of the seeker. They offer unabashed tenderness to anyone who reckons with solitude, and chases joy.
Between the two world wars, American publishing entered a "golden age" characterized by an explosion of new publishers, authors, audiences, distribution strategies, and marketing techniques. The period was distinguished by a diverse literary culture, ranging from modern cultural rebels to working-class laborers, political radicals, and progressive housewives. In America the Middlebrow, Jaime Harker focuses on one neglected mode of authorship in the interwar period—women's middlebrow authorship and its intersection with progressive politics.
With the rise of middlebrow institutions and readers came the need for the creation of the new category of authorship. Harker contends that these new writers appropriated and adapted a larger tradition of women's activism and literary activity to their own needs and practices. Like sentimental women writers and readers of the 1850s, these authors saw fiction as a means of reforming and transforming society. Like their Progressive Era forebears, they replaced religious icons with nationalistic images of progress and pragmatic ideology. In the interwar period, this mode of authorship was informed by Deweyan pragmatist aesthetics, which insisted that art provided vicarious experience that could help create humane, democratic societies.
Drawing on letters from publishers, editors, agents, and authors, America the Middlebrow traces four key moments in this distinctive culture of letters through the careers of Dorothy Canfield, Jessie Fauset, Pearl Buck, and Josephine Herbst. Both an exploration of a virtually invisible culture of letters and a challenge to monolithic paradigms of modernism, the book offers fresh insight into the ongoing tradition of political domestic fiction that flourished between the wars.
Reconsiders the centrality of a remarkable American writer of the ante- and postbellum periods
Elizabeth Stoddard was a gifted writer of fiction, poetry, and journalism; successfully published within her own lifetime; esteemed by such writers as William Dean Howells and Nathaniel Hawthorne; and situated at the epicenter of New York’s literary world. Nonetheless, she has been almost excluded from literary memory and importance. This book seeks to understand why. By reconsidering Stoddard’s life and work and her current marginal status in the evolving canon of American literary studies, it raises important questions about women’s writing in the 19th century and canon formation in the 20th century.
Essays in this study locate Stoddard in the context of her contemporaries, such as Dickinson and Hawthorne, while others situate her work in the context of major 19th-century cultural forces and issues, among them the Civil War and Reconstruction, race and ethnicity, anorexia and female invalidism, nationalism and localism, and incest. One essay examines the development of Stoddard’s work in the light of her biography, and others probe her stylistic and philosophic originality, the journalistic roots of her voice, and the elliptical themes of her short fiction. Stoddard’s lifelong project to articulate the nature and dynamics of woman’s subjectivity, her challenging treatment of female appetite and will, and her depiction of the complex and often ambivalent relationships that white middle-class women had to their domestic spaces are also thoughtfully considered.
The editors argue that the neglect of Elizabeth Stoddard’s contribution to American literature is a compelling example of the contingency of critical values and the instability of literary history. This study asks the question, “Will Stoddard endure?” Will she continue to drift into oblivion or will a new generation of readers and critics secure her tenuous legacy?
Jaime Osterman Alves / Margaret A. Amstutz / Lawrence Buell / Paul Crumbley / Jennifer Putzi / Lisa Radinovsky / Susanna Ryan / Julia Stern / Ellen Weinauer / Sandra A. Zagarell
American Socialist Triptych: The Literary-Political Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Upton Sinclair, and W. E. B. Du Bois explores the contributions of three writers to the development of American socialism over a fifty--year period and asserts the vitality of socialism in modern American literature and culture.
Drawing upon a wide range of texts including archival sources, Mark W. Van Wienen demonstrates the influence of reform-oriented, democratic socialism both in the careers of these writers and in U.S. politics between 1890 and 1940. While offering unprecedented in-depth analysis of modern American socialist literature, this book charts the path by which the supposedly impossible, dangerous ideals of a cooperative commonwealth were realized, in part, by the New Deal.
American Socialist Triptych provides in-depth, innovative readings of the featured writers and their engagement with socialist thought and action. Upton Sinclair represents the movement's most visible manifestation, the Socialist Party of America, founded in 1901; Charlotte Perkins Gilman reflects the socialist elements in both feminism and 1890s reform movements, and W. E. B. Du Bois illuminates social democratic aspirations within the NAACP. Van Wienen's book seeks to re-energize studies of Sinclair by treating him as a serious cultural figure whose career peaked not in the early success of The Jungle but in his nearly successful 1934 run for the California governorship. It also demonstrates as never before the centrality of socialism throughout Gilman's and Du Bois's literary and political careers.
More broadly, American Socialist Triptych challenges previous scholarship on American radical literature, which has focused almost exclusively on the 1930s and Communist writers. Van Wienen argues that radical democracy was not the phenomenon of a decade or of a single group but a sustained tradition dispersed within the culture, providing a useful genealogical explanation for how socialist ideas were actually implemented through the New Deal.
American Socialist Triptych also revises modern American literary history, arguing for the endurance of realist and utopian literary modes at the height of modernist literary experimentation and showing the importance of socialism not only to the three featured writers but also to their peers, including Edward Bellamy, Hamlin Garland, Jack London, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Claude McKay. Further, by demonstrating the importance of social democratic thought to feminist and African American campaigns for equality, the book dialogues with recent theories of radical egalitarianism. Readers interested in American literature, U.S. history, political theory, and race, gender, and class studies will all find in American Socialist Triptych a valuable and provocative resource.
Amy Levy: Critical Essays
Naomi Hetherington Ohio University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PR4886.L25Z56 2010 | Dewey Decimal 828.809
Amy Levy has risen to prominence in recent years as one of the most innovative and perplexing writers of her generation. Embraced by feminist scholars for her radical experimentation with queer poetic voice and her witty journalistic pieces on female independence, she remains controversial for her representations of London Jewry that draw unmistakably on contemporary antisemitic discourse.
Amy Levy: Critical Essays brings together scholars working in the fields of Victorian cultural history, women’s poetry and fiction, and the history of Anglo-Jewry. The essays trace the social, intellectual, and political contexts of Levy’s writing and its contemporary reception. Working from close analyses of Levy’s texts, the collection aims to rethink her engagement with Jewish identity, to consider her literary and political identifications, to assess her representations of modern consumer society and popular culture, and to place her life and work within late-Victorian cultural debate.
This book is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students offering both a comprehensive literature review of scholarship-to-date and a range of new critical perspectives.
Susan David Bernstein,University of Wisconsin-Madison
Gail Cunningham,Kingston University
Elizabeth F. Evans,Pennslyvania State University–DuBois
Emma Francis,Warwick University
Alex Goody,Oxford Brookes University
T. D. Olverson,University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Lyssa Randolph,University of Wales, Newport
Meri-Jane Rochelson,Florida International University
Although women and men have different relationships to language and to each other, traditional theories of rhetoric do not foreground such gender differences. Krista Ratcliffe argues that because feminists generally have not conceptualized their language theories from the perspective of rhetoric and composition studies, rhetoric and composition scholars must construct feminist theories of rhetoric by employing a variety of interwoven strategies: recovering lost or marginalized texts; rereading traditional rhetoric texts; extrapolating rhetorical theories from such nonrhetoric texts as letters, diaries, essays, cookbooks, and other sources; and constructing their own theories of rhetoric.
Focusing on the third option, Ratcliffe explores ways in which the rhetorical theories of Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, and Adrienne Rich may be extrapolated from their Anglo-American feminist texts through examination of the interrelationship between what these authors write and how they write. In other words, she extrapolates feminist theories of rhetoric from interwoven claims and textual strategies. By inviting Woolf, Daly, and Rich into the rhetorical traditions and by modeling the extrapolation strategy/methodology on their writings, Ratcliffe shows how feminist texts about women, language, and culture may be reread from the vantage point of rhetoric to construct feminist theories of rhetoric. She also outlines the pedagogical implications of these three feminist theories of rhetoric, thus contributing to ongoing discussions of feminist pedagogies.
Traditional rhetorical theories are gender-blind, ignoring the reality that women and men occupy different cultural spaces and that these spaces are further complicated by race and class, Ratcliffe explains. Arguing that issues such as who can talk, where one can talk, and how one can talk emerge in daily life but are often disregarded in rhetorical theories, Ratcliffe rereads Roland Barthes’ "The Old Rhetoric" to show the limitations of classical rhetorical theories for women and feminists. Discovering spaces for feminist theories of rhetoric in the rhetorical traditions, Ratcliffe invites readers not only to question how women have been located as a part of— and apart from—these traditions but also to explore the implications for rhetorical history, theory, and pedagogy.
Poems following a Black queer woman as she seeks refuge from an unsafe world.
Carly Inghram’s poems explore the day-to-day experiences of a Black queer woman who is ceaselessly bombarded with images of mass-consumerism, white supremacy, and sexism, and who is forced, often reluctantly, back indoors and away from this outside chaos. The poems in The Animal Indoors seek to understand and define the boundaries between our inside and outside lives, critiquing the homogenization and increasing insincerity of American culture and considering what safe spaces exist for Black women. The speaker in these poems seeks refuge, working to keep the interior safe until we can reckon with the world outside, until the speaker is able to “unleash the indoor news onto the unclean water elsewhere.”
The Animal Indoors won the 2020 CAAPP Book Prize, selected by Terrance Hayes.
Animal Purpose: Poems
Michelle Y. Burke Ohio University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3602.U75527A36 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
2015 Winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize
In Animal Purpose, Michelle Y. Burke explores the lives of men and women as they stand poised between the desire to love and the compulsion to harm. In one poem, a woman teaches a farmhand the proper way to slaughter a truckload of chickens. In another, a couple confronts the recent loss of a loved one when a stranger makes an unexpected confession in a crowded restaurant. Set in both rural and urban spaces, these poems challenge received ideas about work, gender, and place. Danger blurs into beauty and back again. Burke scours the hard edges of the world to find “fleeting softness,” which she wishes “into the world like pollen that covers everything.”
The Harlem Renaissance was a watershed moment for racial uplift, poetic innovation, sexual liberation, and female empowerment. Aphrodite’s Daughters introduces us to three amazing women who were at the forefront of all these developments, poetic iconoclasts who pioneered new and candidly erotic forms of female self-expression.
Maureen Honey paints a vivid portrait of three African American women—Angelina Weld Grimké, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, and Mae V. Cowdery—who came from very different backgrounds but converged in late 1920s Harlem to leave a major mark on the literary landscape. She examines the varied ways these poets articulated female sexual desire, ranging from Grimké’s invocation of a Sapphic goddess figure to Cowdery’s frank depiction of bisexual erotics to Bennett’s risky exploration of the borders between sexual pleasure and pain. Yet Honey also considers how they were united in their commitment to the female body as a primary source of meaning, strength, and transcendence.
The product of extensive archival research, Aphrodite’s Daughters draws from Grimké, Bennett, and Cowdery’s published and unpublished poetry, along with rare periodicals and biographical materials, to immerse us in the lives of these remarkable women and the world in which they lived. It thus not only shows us how their artistic contributions and cultural interventions were vital to their own era, but also demonstrates how the poetic heart of their work keeps on beating.
Barrie Jean Borich The Ohio State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3552.O7529A66 2018 | Dewey Decimal 818.5403
From award-winning author Barrie Jean Borich comes Apocalypse, Darling, a narrative, lyric exploration of the clash between old and new. Set in the steel mill regions of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, the story centers on Borich’s return to a decimated landscape for a misbegotten wedding in which her spouse’s father marries his high school sweetheart. The book is a lilting journey into an ill-fated moment, where families attempt to find communion in tense gathering spaces and across their most formative disappointments. Borich tells the story of the industrial heartland that produced the steel that made American cities, but also one of the most toxic environmental sites in the world.
As concise as a poem and as sweeping as an epic novel, Apocalypse, Darling explores the intersection of American traditional and self-invented social identities and the destruction and re-greening of industrial cityscapes. Borich asks: can toxic landscapes actually be remediated and can patriarchal fathers ever really be forgiven? In a political climate where Borich is forced to daily re-enter the toxic wastelands she thought she’d long left behind, Apocalypse, Darling is an urgent collision of broken spaces, dysfunctional affections, and the reach toward familial and environmental repair.
In Archives of Labor Lori Merish establishes working-class women as significant actors within literary culture, dramatically redrawing the map of nineteenth-century US literary and cultural history. Delving into previously unexplored archives of working-class women's literature—from autobiographies, pamphlet novels, and theatrical melodrama to seduction tales and labor periodicals—Merish recovers working-class women's vital presence as writers and readers in the antebellum era. Her reading of texts by a diverse collection of factory workers, seamstresses, domestic workers, and prostitutes boldly challenges the purportedly masculine character of class dissent during this era. Whether addressing portrayals of white New England "factory girls," fictional accounts of African American domestic workers, or the first-person narratives of Mexican women working in the missions of Mexican California, Merish unsettles the traditional association of whiteness with the working class to document forms of cross-racial class identification and solidarity. In so doing, she restores the tradition of working women's class protest and dissent, shows how race and gender are central to class identity, and traces the ways working women understood themselves and were understood as workers and class subjects.
Taking the warp of dream, sometimes nightmare, and weaving it with the ordinary world, the poems of The Armillary Sphere, Ann Hudson’s award-winning debut collection, do not simplify the mystery but deepen it. Just as the interlocking rings of the armillary sphere of the title represent the great circles of the heavens, so do the poems herein demonstrate out of the beautiful, the extraordinary, and the cast off, a fresh scaffolding, a new way to see out from the center of our selves, a new measure of our relationship to the things of this world and the next.
Chosen from hundreds of manuscripts as this year’s winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, Ann Hudson’s The Armillary Sphere possesses, in the words of final judge Mary Kinzie,
“… a brightness of spirit and quickness of thought that are conveyed with extraordinary care as she frames moments of experience. Her style is unobtrusive—no fireworks of phrasing obscure the thing felt and seen. So simple a device as taking an intransitive verb transitively can shed strong light on the moment: “A fine sheen /of sweat glistens the cocktail glasses,”—and Hudson studies emotions with a brave restraint that resists cliché, while deftly joining together intuitions that bring contradictory or opposing charge.… Both circular and digressive, Hudson’s portrayal of beings of all ages poised on their varying thresholds brings a novelist’s sense of details unfolding into their future under the control of a fine poet’s pure and condensed language of likeness.”Insomnia
If you were awake too, I’d tell you
the whole story, how I dreamt
we never saw the child, how easily
we forgot. Instead I shuffle
to the porch to watch
traffic pass the house
and an occasional bat dive
under the streetlamps, ruthless
after its dark targets.
Arms and the Woman: Classical Tradition and Women Writers in the Venetian Renaissance by Francesca D’Alessandro Behr focuses on the classical reception in the works of female authors active in Venice during the Early Modern Age. Even in this relatively liberal city, women had restricted access to education and were subject to deep-seated cultural prejudices, but those who read and wrote were able, in part, to overcome those limitations.
In this study, Behr explores the work of Moderata Fonte and Lucrezia Marinella and demonstrates how they used knowledge of texts by Virgil, Ovid, and Aristotle to systematically reanalyze the biased patterns apparent both in the romance epic genre and contemporary society. Whereas these classical texts were normally used to bolster the belief in female inferiority and the status quo, Fonte and Marinella used them to envision societies structured according to new, egalitarian ethics. Reflecting on the humanist representation of virtue, Fonte and Marinella insisted on the importance of peace, mercy, and education for women. These authors took up the theme of the equality of genders and participated in the Renaissance querelle des femmes, promoting women’s capabilities and nature.
“In this inviting blend of biography and memoir, novelist Otto (How to Make an American Quilt) examines her life in terms of the women artists who influenced her.…Otto provides a fascinating tour of art through the lens of her own experience. Creatives of all sorts will enjoy [her] wide-ranging insights.” —Publishers Weekly
In Art for the Ladylike, Whitney Otto limns the lives of eight pioneering women photographers—Sally Mann, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Ruth Orkin, Tina Modotti, Lee Miller, Madame Yvonne, and Grete Stern—to in turn excavate her own writer’s life. The result is an affecting exploration of what it means to be a woman, what it means to be an artist, and the perils and rewards of being both at once. In considering how feminism, career, and motherhood were entangled throughout her subjects’ lives as they tirelessly sought to render their visions and paved the way for others creating within the bounds of domesticity, Otto assesses her own struggles with balancing writing and the pulls of home life. Ultimately, she ponders the persistent question that artistic women face in a world that devalues women’s ambition: If what we love is what we are, how do those of us with multiple loves forge lives with room for everything?
Asylum presents the kind of journey John Clare might have taken in 1841 if, when he escaped the madhouse, he'd been traveling in his head rather than on his feet. Lola Haskins starts out with as little sense of direction as Clare had, and yet, after wandering all over the map, she too finally reaches her destination. The four sections in this book are where she rests for the night. The first looks tenderly at the cycle of human life. The second renders the world around her as if she were painting it. By the third, having lost her way, she turns to the supernatural and in the process is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. The book ends as she finds it again and arrives in her dear north-west England, having learned from John Clare that she “can be homeless at home and half-gratified to find I can be happy anywhere.”
Atmospheric Embroidery: Poems
Meena Alexander Northwestern University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PR9499.3.A46A86 2018 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In this haunting collection of poems we travel through zones of violence to reach the crystalline depths of words: Meena Alexander writes, "So landscape becomes us, / Also an interior space bristling with light." At the heart of this book is the poem cycle "Indian Ocean Blues," a sustained meditation on the journey of the poet as a young child from India to Sudan. There are poems inspired by the drawings of children from war-torn Darfur and others set in present-day New York City. These sensual lyrics of body, memory, and place evoke the fragile, shifting nature of dwelling in our times.
Winner of the AWP 2017 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
In ancient fertility carvings, artists would drill holes into the woman’s body to signify penetrability, which is the basis of Autobiography of a Wound: allowing those wounds and puncture marks to speak through the fertility figures. The wounds are chronicled through letters and poems addressed to F (F stands for the fertility carvings themselves, which are being addressed as one unified deity), and A (Aphrodite, who is being referenced as a general deity of womanhood, a figurine that reappears throughout the poems, and a symbol that is referenced or portrayed in almost every fertility figurine or carving). Autobiography of a Wound reconstructs the narrative surrounding female pathos and the idea of the hysteric girl.