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Poetry. Women's Studies. NERVE CHORUS sings out of wreckage. This first book dives deep into family, society, and self to interrogate the inequalities of gender, class, and race, along with brutalities of war, gun violence, and greed. Its revelations take nerve to reveal, from a young girl's survival of violation, to a father's fatal asbestos exposure. Its urgent voice moves from loss to resilience so that Nerve comes to mean the crackling mind, the high-heat metaphor, and a positively choral ambush of language.
"These nimble poems grapple with what it means to belong to a body, a family, a country. With rigor and dark wit, Carroll conjures the exhilarating terror of moving through one's life with nothing but 'flesh holding / back disaster.'"—Tracy K. Smith
"Here is a miraculous poet made of music. She writes what the world needs to hear—what I needed to hear. She takes on our greatest mysteries and inheritances: love, desire, loss, family, activism, art, justice—and every poem changes the air we breathe. This debut reworks the mind as it breaks the heart with its beauty. To be fully alive, in the face of devastation, grief, and longing, a poet must make a song that could be eternal. Willa Carroll is fearless in the face of that challenge. Her music deserves to be sung everywhere—in the church of our earth, in the peace between lovers, in the halls of our learning, in the quiet places of illness and death and mourning. Hers is an art of perpetuity, and she is a genius whose words I hold my breath to hear more clearly."—Brenda Shaughnessy
"As we speak or sing, the tongue dances in a hot wet auditorium momentarily lit. Half public, half private, this book maps the body in lingual movements that accrete and erupt out of stasis, striking choral resonances, transmuting personal/local histories, straddling the elegant and the repugnant. Here is a force to be reckoned with, a memorable debut."—Timothy Liu
Willa Carroll's poems have appeared in AGNI, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, Tin House, and elsewhere. She won Narrative's Third Annual Poetry Contest and Tupelo Quarterly's TQ7 Poetry Prize. A former experimental dancer and actor, she's collaborated with performers and artists, including her filmmaker husband on text-based projects. She holds an MFA from Bennington College and lives in New York City.Author City: NEW YORK, NY USA