Poetry. A butterfly casts the shadow of a man; a homesick mermaid cleans teeth; a young girl pushes a heavy iron, singing. In ALLOY, these and others (daughter, mother, astronaut; an occasional zombie or alien) find voice through poems exploring memory in all its shifting sense and purpose: from childhood recollection to adult reckoning, from folklore and fairytale to family relationships. Bottiglieri's poems live in large moments and small, in the shimmering balance between grieving and consolation, between loss and what comes after. How do our memories—of our keenest pleasures, our deepest losses, our daily miracles, of the people we love and the stories we tell ourselves—shape our sense of self, or teach us how to move through the world? How do they build us, strengthen us, make us more than what we are?
"What a pleasure to read this most engaging and ingenious voice. With irresistible precision, Jan Bottiglieri's poems both record and transform the everyday where it means most. That is plenty, but then she also hits you with poems that look hard at what can be hard to look at. The accessible manner is deceptive. You will read these poems more than once."— Marvin Bell
"ALLOY by Jan Bottiglieri is gigantic! The sky of her wondering is wide. You can open this book to a zombie apocalypse, Pinocchio in middle age, or poems pure as parables about everyday life and death. Like fables of love and loss, these poems are tender and hard. Whether she's writing about a half-mermaid dental hygienist or the death of her own father, mother, or brother, this book is about the heart, the little and big breaks. The whole of life hums in the bones of these poems. Jan Bottiglieri is simply one of the best, and this book is the test of it."— Chris Green
"The past is never where you think you left it, writes Katherine Ann Porter, and this stunning first collection proves it. With a keen and unflinching eye, Jan Bottiglieri's ALLOY recovers personal history and memory from the most unexpected places: in the daily acts of ironing a father's handkerchief or baking a mother's kolacky; in the worlds of fairy tale, myth, and aliens; and in the mundane—a button, a butterfly, a laser machine, a broken lawn mower. Every poem in this book could be an elegy or a love poem to life itself—for what else is life if not an amalgam of loves and losses, of dreams and waking, of remembrance and forgetting? If poetry is a stay against oblivion, then Bottiglieri's poems are precious ALLOYs that fuse her narrative and lyrical gifts with limitless imagination and largesse of compassion, so that not only does the past resist corrosion, but shines with a fierce, untarnished brilliance. Here are poems that affirm the life gigantic by the supreme poetic act of looking closely—at something simple as, say, an apple: Inside I will find / the star / unseen. / . . . star- / flower / memory, petal bones, / in white, dark / seeds. Brava!"— Angela Narciso Torres
Jan Bottiglieri lives and writes in suburban Chicago. Her most recent books of poetry include EVERYTHING SEEMS SIGNIFICANT (BlazeVOX [books], 2019) and ALLOY (Mayapple Press, 2015). She is a professional editor, as well as managing editor for the poetry annual RHINO, and holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Jan's work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than 40 journals and anthologies, including december, Rattle, DIAGRAM, Willow Springs and New Poetry from the Midwest. Jan is the author of two chapbooks, A Place Beyond Luck and Where Gravity Pools the Sugar.
Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA