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In The Spinning Place (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2019), Chelsea Wagenaar explores the power of language—in terms of its possibilities and what it fails to express.

As a being with a body in the world, there are so many experiences that are inexpressible. These poems attempt to touch upon those experiences, relating what it means to have a body, one that carries so many things, from children in the womb to the emotional weight of our relationship to others and the world around us. As Wagenaar lyrically examines everyday moments, her words reach for an ecstatic experience of the sacred.

Moon-sliced star-pocked

streetlit bleat, coal train moving

like its own ghost along the tracks.

2:00, 3:00, my shadow sways

as I catch myself, hand on the wall,

pulled from bed by your nocturnal haunt,

you at your crib rail, blanket clutched,

more sound than body.

— from “Night Shift”

 

Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently The Spinning Place was winner of the 2018 Michael Waters Prize. Her first collection, Mercy Spurs the Bone, was selected by Philip Levine to win the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of North Texas, and currently teaches at Valparaiso University. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Image and The Southern Review.

Andrea Blythe is a cohost of the New Books in Poetry podcast. She is the author of three chapbooks, Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale (Interstellar Flight Press), Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch (Kickstarter funded, 2018), and the collaboratively written Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press, 2018), authored alongside Laura Madeline Wiseman. She cohosts the New Books in Poetry podcast and is the founder of Once Upon the Weird. Find her online at andreablythe.com or on Twitter/Instagram @AndreaBlythe.

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