Artwork by  Alyson Thiel  

Artwork by Alyson Thiel 

Praise for Brazen Creature

2016 Akron Poetry Prize Editor's Choice Selection, published in early 2018 by University of Akron Press

Available to order here

"Anne Barngrover writes like the house is on fire and each poem’s a drop of gas.  I first read Brazen Creature in a single sitting.  It’s a page-turner, like a good novel, and it’s enchanted as a black-cat spell.  'It’s hard to be both large and shy,' she feigns in 'Little Birds,' and for sure her lines, her voice, her intricate syntax all push for size . . . and then she can shut it down with devastating power:  'The sky is blank as a pie plate, yet it will not snow.'  What incredible richness, buoyancy, pleasure, and range in these superb new poems of Anne Barngrover.  Don’t sip.  Drink deeply with her and fly. -David Baker, author of Scavenger Loop

"'Once somebody called me/a shit-magnet, though lovingly,/and I couldn’t disagree,' Anne Barngrover writes in 'Play the Fool,' and she gives us the poems to prove it in a collection that takes us on a journey of yearning, of loving and losing and holding on past sanity and holding on just a little more: 'here you are/again, coming back to do me in. Old like nature./Old like a country song.' There is a country song twang in these poems, a willingness to be brazen in honest self-description and open desperation. This speaker’s ballast, her saving grace, comes forth in her acuity of witnessing— 'tiny losses fizz the pond’s electric/scrim'; 'Sunset flushes seeded glass,/pink as citrus'; 'A man sits in jellied luxury/and watches, his shoulders rounded as beef rump'—and in her refreshing Midwestern candor. 'I’m not perfect, but at least I try/to always make my voice direct: subject, verb,/object. One of the earliest lessons/in language, owning your shit.' I am moved by this woman-girl in all of her incarnations, from shit-magnet to survivor, who, 'through the slow work of dreams/unreached, revision’s stench and steam,' has 'learned how to build something first by how to take it apart.'" -Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl

"In Anne Barngrover’s wonderful new book, Brazen Creature, I love that this poet is in fact brazen as promised. Unapologetic. Bold. Willing to take her share of the space. Willing to take maybe even a little bit more. Barngrover’s poems manage to be both lyrically lush and stingingly earthy at the same time. A Brown Recluse spider is 'a leggy scab that vanishes in the daylight hours.' Apples left to rot are 'a carmine heft in dank grass, willed to summon sweat bees and wasps.' Not everything is pretty in Barngrover’s poems, but every word is true. And give me true over pretty any day. This is a terrific collection by a strong, smart, feminist voice." -Erin Belieu, author of Slant Six

"When I read Anne Barngrover’s poetry, I’m in awe, my body and soul pulsing with the thrill of her music and her vision, the surprise waiting for me after each line break. Her splendid, feminist Brazen Creature exposes from the inside out the way the romantic myth damages girls and women and silences them: 'Girls do not speak.' Piece by piece she dismantles the social mechanisms that make women shape themselves according to the desires of others and submit to mistreatment. Unafraid, vulnerable, defiant, Barngrover carries us into a world both beautiful and brutal, a place that seems ruled by Sylvia Plath’s imperative, 'Peel off the napkin / O my enemy. / Do I terrify?—.' Out of the ruins of love gone bad, she emerges sure-footed, redeemed by her own words, singing her poetry, a 'brazen / creature who refused to shrink back into the thrum / of new evening, in the wild from where she’d come.'" -Aliki Barnstone, author of Dwelling

 

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Yell Hound Blues

Shipwreckt Books, 2013

Available to purchase here