Forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions in March 2020!
Advance praise for The State She’s In:
Lesley Wheeler’s poems call us to power and challenge us to own our dazzle even as they explore gradations of despair, as a woman navigates the Trump years, marching in a cold city “pinked/by hats with pointy ears,” ever alert to her “inhospitable secret vagina” and whether it will “be grabbed or/ judged not fit for grabbing.” Wheeler’s formal virtuosity wheels and sparks as she explores the impact of whiteness and sexism on the literal state—its history, its land, its educational institution—she occupies. “I need to learn/how to endure my own bitterness,” she writes, as the contaminated water sings.” In a wallop of a poem, “New Year’s Colonoscopy,” she conjures: “for I/boiled the bones and drank the steam,/sipped pink potions hours on end, emptied/myself of last year’s toxic shit, and am clean.” Wheeler’s research, her feral witchery, her poems themselves, are an answer, if not the antidote, to the state we’re in. –Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl
The tinder of Lesley Wheeler’s latest collection of poems ignites a tremendous bonfire with the glow of both history and the future illuminated in the present dark. In poem after exquisite poem she writes of both the spark and the ember, where “Scent resonates/even though the blooms are closed.” Here in her breathtaking work the landscapes of the past are indelibly linked with our hardwired present. And through it all, the defiance of the speaker evokes Lowell’s stubborn skunks who turn their tails (and tales) against narratives that neglect to tell all but the most evident truths. –Oliver de la Paz, author of The Boy in the Labyrinth
"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty
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