Poetry. Women's Studies. Lauren Berry's stunning second collection follows a young bride through the maze of a Floridian suburb. As her husband's second wife, she enters stepmotherhood unprepared for its storybook tradition of distrust, a pain intensified by her discovery that she is unable to conceive a child of her own. Each failed attempt to create life is a stone thrown into a pond, rippling her every surface. She loses her stepson in neighborhood gardens, obsesses over a bar of soap left by the previous wife, and plants lingerie in her bathroom as handymen remodel her vanity. THE RENTED ALTAR presents a haunting series of surrealist narratives, and the poems sing darkly of one woman's inability to steady herself in her new domestic kingdom.
Lauren Berry received a BA in Creative Writing from Florida State University and an MFA from the University of Houston where she won the Inprint Verlaine Prize and served as poetry editor for Gulf Coast. From 2009 to 2010, she held the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Agni, Silk Road, The Adroit Journal, Denver Quarterly, and Iron Horse Literary Review. Terrance Hayes selected her first collection, The Lifting Dress (Penguin, 2011), to win the National Poetry Series prize. Her second collection, THE RENTED ALTAR, won the C&R Press Award in poetry (C&R Press, 2020). She teaches AP English Literature at YES Prep Public Schools, a charter school that provides college preparatory education to Houston's most underserved communities. Additionally, Lauren leads poetry workshops for local non-profits, Inprint and Grackle and Grackle.Author City: HOUSTON, TX USA