Updated: Jan 27, 2020

We can't wait for people to read Norma Liliana Valdez's brilliant new collection, Preparing the Body ! This is a limited edition Vinyl 45 chapbook, so grab a copy today before it runs out!

Preparing the Body begins with an interrogation: who hushed / my legs / queried /my skirt. These poems rebuke the multitude of ways that women’s agency, self-ownership, and bodily integrity are denied by society, destroyed even. Valdez’s poems inhabit landscapes of violation and reckoning in a soundtrack of cumbia, danzón, and the blues. This collection is a force of nature, a wildfire; its smoke chases the body to, and beyond, the borders of its silence, grief, desire, and undoing.

Tepoztlán Blues

Photograph by Ana Portnoy Brimmer, Puerto Rico.

Orchids hang from the patio ceiling. When no one is watching I will take one and put it in my pocket as if I could own something of this place. By morning, it will be dead. I’ll walk by a funeral home with child-sized caskets, and cry. The air will belong to firewood. Night will return cold to my bones. I’ll be alebrije: half woman half moon. On the feast of San Sebastián fireworks rise and fall, like us all. Orchestras will be spark then ash. Nothing here is tame. I am high and disoriented pulled by my entrails. I’ll dance mezcal blues. His hand inside my thigh will be a hovering question: How can we do this, and where? It won’t be enough for the way I want to swallow this country: whole.


Grab a copy of The Porch (As Sanctuary) while you still can!

We are also thrilled to announce Jae Nichelle's beautiful poetry collection, The Porch (As Sanctuary) ! This title is now available at our store. Like Preparing the Body, this is also a limited edition Vinyl 45 chapbook, so order your copy today before it runs out!

The Porch (As Sanctuary) is a narrative account of southern, queer, Black womanhood. Through vivid sensory language and familial voices, Jae Nichelle conjures not only scenes but characters who demand to be heard. Nichelle’s writing is deliberate and graceful, leisurely drawing readers into the world of the family on The Porch. In each poem, the reader is invited into a moment on the The Porch which is simultaneously public and private, and where The Porch itself serves many roles. The Porch is a confessional. Church. A centralized gossip station. Home. A family reunion. Hair salon. A lesson in history. A reckoning. A sanctuary.

What We Talked from the Porch

I have a recurring nightmare It begins like a scene from Their Eyes Were Watching God:

A never-ending line up

of houses on both sides

All the porches occupied

by Black women over 40

who have come to feed—

rocking in chairs their mama’s mama’s mama

left as legacy

I run in the street

My secrets trail behind me like lose string they paw and paw andpawandpaw

Endless creaking of

chairs bones


build rumors off my misfortune

(pulling from the yarn they spun)

They learned the art of minding other people’s business

from an early age—

maybe because

nobody ever left them

to their own

With a prominent new voice, Kelly Grace Thomas makes her debut. Check out what people are saying about her first full-length poetry collection.

At the same time expansive and intimate, Kelly Grace Thomas’s debut collection navigates issues of loss, family, and agency. Boat Burned invites us to witness the pains and subsequent joys of rebirth—"The boats that built me / smoke on shore.” Thomas’s voice shines like a lighthouse beacon—guiding us through the difficult memories and toward the future’s open waters.

-Paige Lewis, author of Space Struck

“History is a dirty / ocean. And I am dangerous / with thirst,” says luminous poet Kelly Grace Thomas, in her spellbinding Boat Burned. The gorgeous poems that populate this powerful collection “rise // fully formed from sea.” These are elegant, crisp, clear, and potent poems that tackle such issues as impossible beauty standards, eating disorders, racist attitudes in the U.S., divorce, and family trauma, all while binding a thickly knotted rope of love between the speaker and her family, the speaker and the world around her.

–Jennifer Givhan, author of Rosa’s Einstein

To read this powerful collection for yourself, grab a copy of Boat Burned today!

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Aidan Forster discusses his book Exit Pastoral in an interview with Elena Senechal-Becker at Adroit !

Aidan Forster reveals the emotional influences behind his chapbook. Check out this intimate conversation in which Forster discusses what it means to grow up queer in a rural space and how Exit Pastoral is a complicated love letter to South Carolina.

"South Carolina is so important to me as a site of poetic genesis, because I think initially came to it as sort of an antidote to the internalized shame that I encountered in that landscape. And I always maintained, and I still maintain, a complicated relationship to it. Because on the one hand, I’m very attached to Carolina, at least on a topographical level. It will always be home: the landscape is imprinted, the dramaturgy of the place has become a template of linguistic possibility for me. I have a very ecological relationship in my language to that space, and I love it. But I struggled with the sense that the place that I loved could not reciprocate my intimacy, could not accommodate queerness, could not accommodate the forms of desire I endorsed and experienced. I tried to channel that sense of a double geography of feeling in these poems, both that this was a place where the speakers, these young queer boys, admired and adored but also felt incredibly dislocated within. In the collection I was asking, How can I harness the swelter of this space, all these different sites of material recombination, that overgrowth, that gothic element of the landscape in these poems? And how can I turn this place that at times, socially-culturally-phenomenologically, is sort of a regime of hostility, into a regime of beauty? And that was definitely what motivated me, because I still feel very attached to that place. I feel like it’s one of the queerest spaces I’ve ever been in, not just because I was queer and I was there, but in terms of the tenacity of space and of intimacy in a place that is very much designed to choke it out."

Forster's poetry uplifts the soul and his words reel in a Southern landscape for us to rediscover. We are incredibly grateful to Aidan Forster for letting us peer inside a unique universe that ceases to let go of our hearts.

Read Elena Senechal-Becker's full conversation with Aidan Forster at The Adroit Journal and pick up a copy of Exit Pastoral to experience it for yourself!


Emily O'Neill shares the creative process of her poetry in The Adroit Journal's ongoing feature "How I Wrote."

O'Neill lets us peek into how she created "Without Conferring, We Both Ask For A Smoke & Dagger" from a falling knife has no handle. She shares with us a sense of the symbiotic relationship between food and drink and the sometimes unnerving nature of dating life.

"The title of the poem refers to us ordering the same beer without talking about what we wanted first, and I thought of it as a road into talking about how sometimes desire is mirrored without desire ever being explicitly declared. Telling someone your feelings is such a huge risk, mostly because there’s always a wide chance they don’t feel the same way or aren’t ready to admit they do. Even though the poem is almost all nervous energy about waiting too long to discuss what might happen between interested parties, I wanted to generate what felt like a kind of ease. The speaker is making a pile of memories in common, asking the person at the other end of the letter to remember how much they already share, even though things still feel so new."

O'Neill's poetry explores the unique relationships we share with the delicacies we eat. She takes us into a world of restaurants and bars, the places where some of her speaker's potent bonds have formed and allows us to navigate relationships—new and old. Thank you Emily, for sharing these intimate moments with us!

To read the rest of O'Neill's insights into the creation of her poem, visit The Adroit Journal. If you would like to read more of her poetry, pick up a copy of a falling knife has no handle today!


John Allen Taylor's conversation with The Adroit Journal is riveting!

In an interview with Ben Togut, Taylor unveils some of the thought process behind the creation of his chapbook. Through their conversation, we learn some of the unique ways in which his poems in Unmonstrous came to be ordered.

"The last poem in the book, “How,” I wrote before many of the other poems in the book. In a sense, when I wrote it, it was sort of this target I was shooting for, this end point. There were a couple times in the editing of the book where we were actually flipping back and forth between the last poem, “How,” and the second to last poem, “Love Poem for Marie,” this hand-wringing about who has the last word, the speaker focused on the abuser or the speaker focused on the partner or lover. It was a really hard decision to make, and the decision to end it with “How” gets a little bit closer to the heart of the book, in that these issues of trauma and revisiting trauma and trauma revisiting the individual is cyclical and also that health is possible and attainable. But I felt these experiences and how trauma inhabits the body over and over and over again were important to represent in the structure of the book. Even though “How” was a poem that I wrote early on, it did feel very much like a destination for the book, somewhere I was trying to get the book to. When I wrote it, it felt very much liker a moment of victory for the speaker."

For Taylor, every detail must complement the narrative of his chapbook. From the creation of his first poem to his last, Unmonstrous is designed to take us on a journey through sexual abuse, trauma, and healing. Thank you John Allen Taylor for captivating us with how your remarkable poetry is made.

To read John Allen Taylor's poetry, grab a copy of Unmonstrous. For the full conversation with Ben Togut, visit The Adroit Journal.

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