Cover Art: Polly Morgan
Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer
Paperback | 100 Pages
February 25, 2020 | ISBN 978-1-936919-74-1
The poems in One God at a Time subvert and pervert the idea of God and Holiness and record the reactions to a male god through language that sins in the face of what’s holy. How does the relationship between a woman and a male god change when nothing is off limits, when we can talk about God as a sex crush, death crush, toe-sucker, child killer? What happens when, after submitting to God, we retaliate through language? When we remove and/or rearrange the positions of power, a new freedom arises. In this new arena, one can openly act and write through cruelty. These poems are cruel in their relentlessness and unforgiving persistence in reorienting/disorienting the narrative of women worshiping and submitting to men. These poems attempt to beat against the walls of traditional gender roles and speak viscerally about the body, its desires and fears, especially desires that are not tied to the sweetness and beauty of femininity. These are poems that refuse to apologize when they bleed and bitch, curse and cut. Poetry does not have to ask for forgiveness. One God at a Time is a manuscript that does not ask for any such thing.
About Meghan Privitello
Meghan Privitello is the author of A New Language for Falling out of Love (YesYes Books, 2015), Notes on the End of the World, winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence Press, 2016), and One God at a Time (YesYes Books, 2020). Poems have appeared in Guernica, Gulf Coast, A Public Space, Best New Poets, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work.
One God at a Time by Meghan Privitello
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About One God at a Time
Meghan Privitello’s stunning new book One God at a Time is a gorgeously profane collection of ecstatic abecedarians and erotic spiritual encounters. Within these poems, a corporeal and metamorphosing God becomes a weapon and a lover and a lesson in the mess desire makes of us. It’s the kind of book that makes you say wow so loudly when reading that you’re sure everyone in the coffee shop knows why you’re blushing, how God can do that to you sometimes, especially when Privitello is the one translating those urges. As she says in one of her poems: “you cannot believe in a god you cannot touch or ride,” but the pleasures in these poems are so real, they will make a believer out of you.
—Traci Brimhall, author of Saudade
I admire Privitello's ability to build an accessible surreality that complements her trademark style and voice, enhancing the urgency and emotional subtext without drifting into sentimentality. It is clear Privitello loves language and all its capabilities; One God at a Time is an evocative linguistic waltz, swaying from the sociopolitical to the personal in powerful movements that demand we become more than passive readers. Here, we are challenged to hold ourselves accountable for the heartbreaks of the world, to "see that God is a weapon, Our fingerprints all over his blade.”
-Rachel McKibbens, author of blud
“Let’s begin with the tongue,” Meghan Privitello’s One God at a Time opens. And oh, how I could not stop mine from moving: Privitello’s poems rolled off my tongue as they brushed through our “string of animal behaviors,” how we navigate the world via the modern trinity of Death, Sex, and Religion. Privitello’s power lies in her ability to declare (“When I undress, the dirt throbs / for me”) and question (“Why has love taken away my face?”) with so much bravado that you are always hit by something ruinous, blessed, truly holy and tender. Privitello beckons us to see how “each of our openings / is nothing if not an otherworldly kind of light.” I am on my knees, eyes fully open, in awe over these poems.
—Carly Joy Miller, author of Ceremonial
Meghan Privitello’s One God at a Time picks up where Sylvia Plath left off. Plath kills God, but Privitello goes further. She and God perform a power play—sex and torture, bondage and domination. When the speaker declares, “I want unbiased animal love / It does not judge pudge or kink / I want to build a planet made of erections,” I shriek with joy. Privitello is the queen of rejected queer kids, bullied fat girls, slut-shamed women—all of us who built sacred spaces from the ruins of our forsaken souls. A work of profane genius, One God at a Time opens the doors to a church that refuses shame and exalts flesh, pleasure, desire. I love this book.
—Claudia Cortese, author of Wasp Queen