I’m delighted — of course I’m delighted. Though some small part of me wonders if, considering everything that’s going on in the world, all the stress and doubt and fear, whether I should be subdued in my excitement, more respectful of those who are struggling right now.
But here’s the thing, I think the world needs good news. It needs victories great and small. It needs celebration in whatever small spades that life can offer.
So, I’m thrilled and excited and overjoyed to announce that I have a chapbook coming out this year. The cover is beautiful with art by Yana Germann and the layout is stunning. In fact, when I first saw the combination of fonts and illustrations combined together with the words I wrote, it was so beautiful I started to cry. It feels like a “real” book. And I’m so grateful for the amazing work that Holly Lyn Walrath and her team has done to make Twelve into the best possible book it can be.
I’m also overjoyed that folks whom I respect in the poetry community have also said lovely things about Twelve.
“Andrea Blythe’s collection of the retold (and often feminist) Brothers Grimm fairytale, ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses,’ is a breath of air at the bottom of the ocean. It’s not only fresh, but it’s so different and unique that it deserves multiple reads. One of my favorite lines in the book is also something we should all ask ourselves, ‘Do you mean it?’” — Joanna C. Valente, author of Marys of the Sea and editor of A Shadow Map: Writing by Survivors of Sexual Assault
“Hearkening back to when Grimms’ tales were less fairy, more formidable, Andrea Blythe offers a rhythmic, alliterative retelling of traditional stories that reveal a stark imbalance between genders. An engaging and eerie tribute to the young girls and women who read, dance, and keep things clean, Twelve does exactly what her storyteller suggests of her characters: it ‘see[s] the truth beneath the pretty surface.’” — Christina M. Rau, author of the Elgin Award winning Liberating The Astronauts
Twelve will be published on September 7th. Pre-orders for Twelve will open up around June.
For those interested in receiving a digital review copy of Twelve for review, the chapbook is now available at Net Galley.
I have no idea what the world is going to looks like a year from now, a month, a week, tomorrow — but I do know this: I have a collection poetry forthcoming. It’s a collection I’m proud of, and I’m elated to be able to share it with the world.
Do you have any victories to share? Any good news big or small? I would love to hear about it and join you in the celebration.
This was first published in A Seed to Hatch, my newsletter on the writing life and things writers might find interesting. If you enjoyed reading this, please check it out and subscribe.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) hosts the annual Elgin Awards — named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin — which honor the best poetry books (49+ pages) and chapbooks (10–39 pages) of speculative poetry from the past two years.
The 2019 winners for book length collection are:
Winner:War: Dark Poems by Marge Simon & Alessandro Manzetti (Crystal Lake Publishing, 2018)
Second Place:Artifacts by Bruce Boston (Independent Legions, 2018)
Third Place: Witch Wife by Kiki Petrosino (Sarabande Books, 2017)
The 2019 winners for chapbook length collection are:
That’s right! My collaborative chapbook written with the amazing Lauren Madeline Wiseman has placed third in the Elgin Awards. We are so phenomenally honored to be included among such amazing works of poetry.
And I’m so stoked that I’m hosting a poetry giveaway on my Instagram — featuring copies of the two winners and a copy of my collaborative chapbook.
Both of these poems are part of The Poeming project, in which over 50 poets were assigned one of Stephen King’s books and tasked with writing 31 found poems pulled from its pages. I was assigned The Plant, which I’ve continued working with of and on ever since. A number of the poems from this project have since been published and I’m starting to see the shape of a manuscript coming together.
I fell in love with Fatimah Asghar’s writing as soon as I heard her fantastic slam piece, “Pluto Shits on the Universe,” in which she gives Pluto voice and the power of chaos. So, when I learned that her collection, If They Come for Us, was available, I knew it was a book I had to own.
As described by Goodreads, “In this powerful and imaginative debut poetry collection, Fatimah Asghar nakedly captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America by braiding together personal and marginalized people’s histories. After being orphaned as a young girl, Asghar grapples with coming-of-age as a woman without the guidance of a mother, questions of sexuality and race, and navigating a world that put a target on her back.”
If They Come for Us is a stunning collection of poetry, lyrical and powerful and moving. There are many things I love about this book, from the way Asghar addresses the political through the personal to the ways she plays with language and uses humor to drive home meaning.
Among the things I adore is the beautiful physicality found in many of these poems, in which the body is sketched out in vivid detail — and not just the pretty bits, but the full reality of a body that makes up a human being. A body is where “mosquito bites bloom” or where exist “hairs crawling out.” In “Oil,” she writes, “The walk to school makes the oil pool on my forehead / a lake spilling under my armpits.” The specifics of existing in a human body in these poems feel as though the speaker is declaring their existence in a world that doesn’t always want them. It’s a lovely way to claim space.
Asghar is inventive with the poetic form, not only presenting poems in free verse, but using words in unusual ways whether it’s putting a stanza upside down so that the book has to be flipped over to be read, or whether it’s situating her words within the constructs of a “games” in the form of a bingo card, mad libs, map, or cross word puzzle. The poems in this collection in their beauty and variety offer continual surprises and wisdom each time I read them.