Poems from Letters to Joan were first published in Mid-American Review, Solidago Literary Review, Nimrod International Journal, The New Verse News, and elsewhere.
“The shimmering poems in Letters to Joan seem caught between worlds, one filled with instructions and imperatives, the other incantatory and strange. Or maybe both of these worlds are only, always, one? Because maybe there’s no difference between the word and the world? Allison Blevins thinks so, and sings so, her yummy new poems bright with love, and strung together with hope.”
- Alan Michael Parker, Author of The Ladder and Long Division
“Allison Blevins’ ekphrastic poems pay homage to Joan Mitchell, the mid-century American Abstract Expressionist painter. Individually the poems in Letters to Joan evoke a rich and complex world; together they sing celebrations and dirges of womanhood. Letters to Joan is a stunning chapbook.”
-Julie R. Enszer, Author of Avowed and editor of Sinister Wisdom
Poems from A Season for Speaking were first published in Mid-American Review, Nimrod International Journal, Bullets Into Bells, and elsewhere.
“Yes, motherhood and IVF are vehicles for Blevins’ explorations in this raw, wrought collection, but another question thrums throughout: what is yet unspoken by women’s voices? Unborn women, women unseen as they age, women silenced by circumstance or by the vast hormonal shifts of pregnancy or the job of mothering: ‘The sound I carry in my teeth was born in me: I've eaten it and I’ve found it as if it waited for me.’ Blevins gives words to the wordless in her deep, strange poems, which in many cases are ekphrasticlly emboldened by the artwork of Joan Mitchell. Some poetry collections also speak via the throughline of an image-world, a set of tropes that tumble over and rearrange themselves into new visions, poem by poem, like a kaleidoscope. Here, birds and mouths. Skin. Grass. Teeth. Through these recurring images, Blevins grapples with and interlinks the complicated legacies of past loves and past selves and their impact on the newly-loved present, ‘how silence can scratch like nails on wet skin.’”
-Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Interpretive Work and Approaching Ice
“Allison Blevins’ A Season for Speaking tells the story of a life in eighteen pages of poems that sing of motherhood in all its phases: love and soothing, terror, pregnancy, infertility, what it is to be a daughter, and the deep sadness of "how terrible it is to release something from your body.” The natural world and the grocery store, the suburban Christian’s advice about how God loves, and a child screaming when a mother doesn’t visit collide in this volume. Alicia Ostriker’s “The Nerves of a Midwife”’s legacy is found in these extraordinary explorations of what and how to be a human in the midst of 21st Century fears, where "the school’s doors are chained” and the birds sing “me, too.” Strength in uncertainty and beauty resonate in A Season for Speaking’s compellingly honest love song.“
-Laura Lee Washburn, author of This Good Warm Place
“It can be difficult to talk about certain topics with others, like the difficulty with infertility, that God isn’t as easy as others make God to be, how parenting and done right is never easy, and how motherhood and mental health are constant work. Allison Blevins examines these deep-life issues and language itself through her poems found in A Season for Speaking. This is her season she shares with us, a time for claiming strength through the naming of the fears, uncertainties, and losses that come from living in Missouri—a microcosm of America. However, through the struggles she finds victories, as when the speaker says to her wife, ‘Here is a field. This is a road always / beginning.’ The birds through these poems serve as reminders, that ‘[t]he crown is a destination.’ Blevins shows her royalty is vibrant, shows us the bravery of speaking. These words are, indeed, words which ‘exist to give language to all the women who exist only in the sigh and struggle.’”
-Dennis Etzel Jr., author of The Sum of Two Mothers
“Daughter, What I’ve Learned,” “My Daughter Returns From Her Other Mother’s House with Braids in Her Hair” and “Femme Poem #1.” Hastag Queer: LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology, Volume 2, Qommunicate Publishing, 2018.
Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women's Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. She has been a finalist for the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and the Moon City Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in such journals as Mid-American Review, the minnesota review, Nimrod International Journal, Sinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly. She is the author of the chapbooks Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019) and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019), part of the Robin Becker Series. Her chapbook Susurration (Blue Lyra Press) is forthcoming this summer. She lives in Missouri with her wife and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series and is Editor-in-Chief of Harbor Review.
Contact and Artist Information
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