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Synopses & Reviews
A wild, seductive debut collection that presents a powerful journey of struggle and healing — and a spellbinding brew of folklore, movies, music, and ritual.
"Draw me encircled // in something // other than gasoline." The poems of Rose Quartz hum with the naked energy of one who has found her way home after a journey rife with difficulty and who has the scars to show for it. In them, Sasha taqwsəblu LaPointe moves from intimate scenes of peril — a car accident, an unwelcome advance at a party, a miscarriage — to the salvific, exhilarating punk scene of the Pacific Northwest and the centering shores of her Coast Salish ancestors. Along the way, she peers into the darker corners of her own search for belonging, and finds there glittering stones dense with meaning and the power to move forward.
As game to follow a beckoning Laura Palmer into the burning woods as she is to step into the shoes of Little Red Riding Hood as she lays waste to her wolf, LaPointe explores the sublime space between beauty and danger through lush, almost baroque, use of folktale and color. Red, white, blue, and an amalgam that is none of the above — rose — vie for the speaker's embrace as a mixed-race woman. Here, poems become offerings, rituals, incantations conjured in the name of healing and power.
Like the stones and cards laid on an altar, Rose Quartz offers a reading at the intersection of identity and myth, trauma and truth, telling the story of past, present, and future.
"In this dynamic and deeply moving collection of poems, Sasha LaPointe somehow does the impossible: sharing her own selfhood, self-mythology, and history while also inviting us to make our own vulnerable journey in understanding our own. Here is not only an exploration of history, family, culture, the sacred, and the secular, but a song of love to the world — even when the world might not deserve such a song." Matthew Dickman
"The clarity of the poems in Rose Quartz is like the clarity produced of 'a fire that eats itself / back to blackness, ' which is to say, this collection brings the reader not to a position of mere interpretation — which necessarily disrupts the grim political arduousness of reading an Indigenous writer through our proximity to (the subjects of) loss (of lands, of safeties, of selves, of time) — but rather to the cusp of transformation. There is no artifice here, but art; no choreographed formula the poet is performing. Instead, 'now the sky is black / the waves only exist because we can hear them / beyond, ' for LaPointe is a poet whose interests are not the surfaces of words, but their depths. Read Rose Quartz to consider the translucent lyric — for the dream of a woman who tells our dreams — remembering the muddying of sacramental wine with blood. For here is blood: sourced from veins as mammary as they are literary." Joan Naviyuk Kane, author of Another Bright Departure
"Rose Quartz is a book about taonga, it is filled with what is precious; the whenua, whanau, and aroha = the land, family, and love." Tayi Tibble, author of Poukahangatus
"In Rose Quartz — a tapestry of stone and tarot, story and dream — the luxury of fairy-tale is disrupted by the beautiful and scarring velocity of our reality, resulting in poems that sing and haunt, dance and tackle the heart, that glow like fire but at times are the dangerous blaze itself. Sasha taqwsəblu LaPointe's book of protection spells and unfairied-tales is the jewel anyone who knows the turbulent roads of life will want to hold close for the rest of the journey." Danez Smith, author of Don't Call Us Dead
About the Author
Sasha taqwsɘblu LaPointe is the author of Rose Quartz. She is from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribes. Native to the Pacific Northwest, she draws inspiration from her coastal heritage as well as her life in the city. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Red Paint, and holds a double MFA in creative nonfiction and poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Yellow Medicine Review, Hunger Mountain, and elsewhere. She lives in Tacoma, Washington.