Alumna Melissa Crowe ’96 published a new book, Lo.
Lo maps the deprivation and richness of a rural girlhood and offers an intimate portrait of the woman—tender, hungry, hopeful—who manages to emerge. In a series of lyric odes and elegies, Lo explores the notion that we can be partially constituted by lack—poverty, neglect, isolation. The child in the book’s early sections is beloved and lonely, cherished and abused, lucky and imperiled, and by leaning into this complexity, the poems render a tentative and shimmering space sometimes occluded, the space occupied by a girl coming to find herself and the world beautiful, even as that world harms her.
Melissa Crowe ’96 is also the author of Dear Terror, Dear Splendor. She coordinates the MFA program in creative writing at UNCW, where she teaches poetry and publishing. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.
From the University of Iowa Press:
“Melissa Crowe is a new kind of genius of sensory memory. Mina Loy–like, Sappho-seeming, as if those ancient fragments blossomed so many centuries later as lush nerve endings signaling desire, signaling help for the crushed blooms of a childhood betrayed, in a cycle of agonizing poems the book’s other sections surround as if holding, carefully, even joyfully. Lo is a love song with a haunting melody that thrills me and makes me weep with gratitude. With wonder at the beauty she creates. With anger. The power of this voice is unstoppable.”—Brenda Shaughnessy, judge, Iowa Poetry Prize
“Lo rides the exclamation and imperative of its title with indefatigable tenderness and dogged
reverie and confirms Crowe’s place as one of contemporary poetry’s most skilled raconteurs. Like all
great poets, Crowe knows attention is a kind of love, and her work resonates with the easy hum of
concentrated care; what’s rare, then, is how these finely spun poems carry us through the sweet and
the bitter, reviving a buried bravery both necessary and all our own. How many poets writing today
can push us into the deep end of both fear and desire without ever letting go of our hand? We couldn’t
have known then, given its brilliance, but it’s clear now: that first collection? Melissa Crowe was just
warming up.”—Meg Day, author, Last Psalm at Sea Level
“Lo is a devastatingly gorgeous, sigh-out-loud-every-other-line celebration of the inner life. Like a
geode, an ordinary looking rock, ‘that opened onto secret glowing facets . . . so you knew/ a thing
like this could look less blessed than it was,’ Lo insists that there is more—more to discover inside
or underneath, more in the secreted and unsaid. In these poems, Crowe cracks open the ordinary,
the harrowing, even the ugly, to reveal the jewels inside. This book—this poet—is a marvel.”
—Maggie Smith, author, Goldenrod
Iowa Poetry Prize
88 pages • $20.00 paper original
ISBN: 978-1-60938-899-7 • Pub Date: May 24, 2023
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