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If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (National Poetry)


If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (National Poetry) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this debut collection, Anna Journey invites the reader into her peculiar, noir universe nourished with sex and mortality. Her poems are haunted by demons, ghosts, and even the living who wander exotic landscapes that appear at once threatening and seductive. In these poems, her sly speaker renames a pink hibiscus on display at Lowe's, "Lucifer's Panties"; another character chants, "I'd fall devil / over heels over edge over oleander"; and one woman writes a letter to the underworld:

Dear black bayou, once, by a river

I bit a man's neck. His scent: the raw

teak air husked inside stomachs of six

Russian nesting dolls--the ones in the attic I pulled

apart and open. The ones I

pulled apart and open like Styrofoam cups.

About the Author

“Many female poets address sex in tones of victimhood, but Journey is downright predatory. Indeed, she's all about ecstasy in the original sense, meaning to leave your state of being. But if living to the fullest requires ecstasy, then it also requires a dose of death. Journey has her misgivings about this, which hints at a kind of existential sanity. That makes If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting a fabulous little book, the work of a young poet (I kept hearing bits of Wallace Stevens and Maxine Kumin) wise beyond her years.”—Los Angeles Times
“With these poems Journey flings the shop door wide open. She puts the needle on the record. She pumps up the bass."—Blackbird
"If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting is an audacious book written by a poet of wide erudition with a feverish and relentless imagination. Her experiments are actually new experiments. Her music will make your ear need to dance. And, on top of that, her poems make you want to read and read and read them!”--Thomas Lux, National Poetry Series judge
"In her spellbinding debut collection, Journey is the voice of that 'adorable siren' whose pleasurably startling images and exquisite perfect-pitch language recognize-no, bless that all 'cries want to be something else.' It is simply one of the most magnetic books I have read in a long time.”--Beckian Fritz Goldberg, author of The Book of Accident

"The tropic foliage of Anna Journey's book is so lushly ashimmer with invitation and threat that it's difficult to tell the two apart. Which is just what this poet intends: the world seduces us to enter, and to enter again, and to do so is both to find pleasure and to perish into a field of ghosts. Sexy, baroque, and southern to the core, this is a full-tilt splash of a debut."--Mark Doty, author of Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems

"Anna Journey has talent to burn: gothic, elegiac, and celebratory by turns, her poems possess a giddy imaginative dexterity that is exceedingly rare in a debut collection. More important, there is a gravity and heft to her poems; they are willing to confront the Big Issues and militantly resist the easy tour de force. Jarrell says somewhere that a certain helplessness before her material is one of the poet’s principal tools. I hear that haunted helplessness in lines such as these: 'I can’t stop— / the story // going like the tongue goes: // lit and loosed, moving, / like Lucifer, / down.' Anna Journey is on the threshold of a significant career."--David Wojahn, author of Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004

"In digging up graves and rooting through the past, Anna Journey’s rich lines assert the writing of poetry as the vehicle that can change one’s luck, one’s history and future."—The Rumpus

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi


Adorable Siren, Do You Love the Damned? 3

Lucifer’s Panties at Lowe’s Garden Center 5

A Rabbit Must Be Walking 7

My Great-Grandparents Return to the World as Closed

Magnolia Buds 9

Fox-Girl before Birth 11

Drowned Angel Blues 12

Autobiography as Endless Calico 13

Letter to the City Bayou by Its Sign: Beware Alligators 15

Visitation of the Rose 17

A Skulk Is a Group of Foxes 18

Apparition with Toenail Music 21

Corpse Flowers and Grackles 23


The Shapeshifter Introduces Her Village to the Moon 27

The Mirror’s Lake Is Forever 29

He has given his face to the waters of the lake 32

Charm against the Dead’s Interference with the Satellite 33

Since the Rabbit Was Singing 36

Elegy: After Filling Out Egg-Donation Forms 38

The Child Keats 42

Birdstorm 43

Snipers in the Arrangement 45

The Gypsy’s Late Arrival 47


A Crawdad’ll Hold Until It Hears Thunder 51

Return as Black Currant 52

Sappho on the Edge of the Bayou 54

Rose Is Dead and Crashes the Party 55

Elegy: I Pass by the Erotic Bakery 57

The Nude Model, Scary Mary, Shifts on Her Satin Pillow 59

Night with Eros in the Story of Leather (1) 61

Clockwork Erotica: Why He Takes Off His Glasses When

Telekinesis Fails 62

Gachet Dresses the Wound 63

Night with Eros in the Story of Leather (2) 64

Walking Upright in a Field of Devils 66


Carnival Afterlife 71

Madman and the Royal Shapes of His Cloud 73

Birdskull, Cedar, Rosemary, Stone 75

Nude Girls to Pluto 77

The Foot Wing of Carolina’s Artificial Limb Factory 79

The Nurse’s Diagram of the Tracheotomy 82

Dissecting the Automaton 84

Backwater Blues 85

Dark Mouth like a Lullaby’s 87

If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting 88

Red-Haired Girl Wants You to Know 89

Product Details

Journey, Anna
University of Georgia Press
American - General
Single Author / American
Poetry-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
The National Poetry Series
Publication Date:
8.56x6.48x.30 in. .35 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (National Poetry) New Trade Paper
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Product details 104 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820333687 Reviews:
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