From Irena Praitis haunting feminist poems of wisdom, motherhood, loneliness, and love.
This blurb from renowned poet Jennifer Givhan says it better than anything else: “This collection catches at the motherpit inside me. It has given me a framework to start reconceptualizing and loving my love instead of my pain. Wise and powerful, these poems speak to me on the deepest level of soul. With their overt stories, and their covert secrets, these poems remind me: Even that which stays buried can be redeemed. There is something to the omissions we make, to the haunting spaces they create in their vacuum, the sense that what once lived there has moved on—narrative, memory, pain. Utterly gorgeous. This collection is fire. It'll stay with me.” —Jennifer Givhan, Author of Belly to the Brutal and River Woman, River Demon
This is the third poetry collection from this author, all at Red Mountain. She is a powerful, original poet, always daring to consider difficult themes with the most vigorous, potent, and evocative language.
“This CAGE OF BONE is woven of poem-stories, some hard to hear, some passed down in our DNA, some ignored, 'just rants, mumblings, broken punctuations, / lost expressions' that make us who we are, if we are brave enough to listen. In this collection, Irena Praitis offers readers the wisdom of a closely observed life, 'Sometimes / what is broken / holds more / than what / remains whole.' These poems of motherhood, of the animal within that helps us survive, of 'urchins, crabs, anemones, /and sky' thread bits of wisdom, 'Every pedestal / is part prison' in with the unstable pattern of a body changing over a lifetime—how we keep changing in age and are never quite ready. Even as we are part of the natural world, Praitis requires we see ourselves and our impact with clear eyes, 'Every day is post- / apocalyptic / in the desert.' The work here speaks to our shared struggles as human beings, and to the loneliness of the individual experience, 'with vinegar and chemical, these are the ways / I’ve battled plagues, the strange, the dust, my own demise.'” —Amelia Martens, author of The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat
“In this wonderfully feminist collection’s seminal 'Laureate,' the speaker wanted what she thought was love.... [S]he celebrates her 'animal,' saving her from a failed marriage, and a man’s attack; helping her become a single mother, and exercising her body into its best shape. Her cage of bone holds her heart, but cannot contain its work of loving. Brava!” —April Ossmann, author of Event Boundaries
Poet Irena Praitis is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, and an aunt. The author of THE LAST STONE IN THE CIRCLE (Red Mountain Press, 2016) and RODS AND KOANS (Red Mountain Press, 2018), her poems, translations, and essays have appeared in more than a hundred literary journals. A professor of creative writing and literature at California State University, Fullerton, she currently serves as the department chair and walks and runs the roads of Fullerton with her son.