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Dorothea Lasky



By Dorothea Lasky

  • Readers who purchase Milk here on the Wave website will also receive a limited edition pamphlet of Dorothea Lasky's prose piece, Why I Am Sad.

    In her latest collection, Dorothea Lasky brings her signature style—a deeply felt and uncanny word-music—to all matters of creativity, from poetry and the invention of new language to motherhood and the production of new life. As much a personal document as it is an occult text, Milk investigates overused paradigms of what it means to be a creator and encapsulates its horrors and joys—setting fire to the enigma that drives the vital force that enables poems, love, and life to happen.

  • A starchart of loneliness. . . . In these intensely sad poems, I feel like I’m not so much gazing from Lasky’s POV but just adjacent, maybe hovering just outside her space-orbiter-cum-isolette, peering in through the double Corningware panes. Peering in at her peering out.
    Joyelle McSweeney, Lana Turner

    Hers is a consciousness under siege, but not at the expense of great compassion and even humor. If her poems sometimes seem like they’re yelling, it’s as if they’re yelling only to you, seeking whatever kinds of justice poetry can ask in the ways only poetry can.
    Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR

    There are many such moments in MILK where the poet asserts her authority to complicate our understanding of metaphor’s logic and the symbolic image’s reach via rapid direct address, inexplicable numbers, the power of color. For Lasky, a poet whose perpetual present is supplied by her faith in the imagination, a poem is less obfuscated and more dimensionalized. Lasky creates a dimensionality that refuses to be flattened out by readers who insist on undisturbed rational lines of thought. She intends to perturb, disturb, disrupt, and awaken.
    Nathaniel Rosenthalis, Boston Review

    Lasky abandons the notions of linearity and coherence, introducing possibilities of renewal out of instances of trauma by reaching for a musical phrasing all her own. . . . Don’t look for daintiness nor defeatism in Lasky’s weighty lines but rather fierce, quick-witted associations that make space for one woman’s power to name her world.
    Major Jackson, Academy of American Poets

    Exhibiting her typically unabashed, rhythmic, and confessional style, Lasky revels in both shadow and light as she writes through isolation, motherhood, and loss. At its best, Lasky’s voice is hypnotically primal, resulting in inexplicable, yet palpable desire. . . . This is an emotionally enriching collection, and Lasky’s euphonic displays of vulnerability may leave readers pleasantly dizzy.
    Publishers Weekly

    She refuses to sterilize the terror, the leakage, the dizzying, aching pain of milk flow and suckle. For Lasky, milk celebrates the body in its twisted confines, a body that, more than anything, desires a singular self-destruction. . . . When you laugh at her poems, it is in spite of the fact that you will die. Like so much of her previous work, I consider Milk a great elegy. It is the survivor’s will to memorialize and entangle themselves in the reality that “death is all the world has left to offer."
    Natalie Eilbert, LA Review of Books

    In Lasky's Milk, anything and everything is only a turn away, whether through metaphor's web of associations or simply the poet's inexhaustible imagination. It's hallucinogenic: in these pages, individual identity falls away and, in exchange, the reader is given access to something like shared consciousness.
    Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, The Adroit Journal

    In Milk, Dorothea Lasky channels her electric writing into an examination of creativity and motherhood. In parts a critique and in others a celebration, Milk deftly navigates the complex relation between creator and creation, from poetry and new language to motherhood and new life.
    Cassidy Foust, Lit Hub

    In her poetry, Dorothea Lasky does the work of naming for us, saying it as is, but in language and music that gets at the visceral and drags it, wet and sticky, to the surface. She takes power back.
    Kimberly Ann Priest, NewPages

    For all the humor and sneer, Lasky’s poems tread the waters of stark fears of mortality, propagation, and innate monstrosity...Yet, somehow, her speaker carries on through all life’s suffering—by the cosmic force of Lasky’s lyric and whimsy, “Because despite it all / She lived / You know” and so, with Milk, readers may find kaleidoscopic stories for survival too.
    The Arkansas International

    Lasky’s poems are incredibly visceral, long known for being straightforward and fearless, pushing unflinchingly through some rather dark territory. Her poems are constructed as accumulations, with phrases stacked upon another, moving further and further, heading off into directions unknown that managed somehow to exist simultaneously linked and trailing off into some unknown distance; lost, somehow, and yet connected. Part of the rollercoaster thrill of reading her poems is in seeing just where the poem might end up, often a far distance from where it might open.
    Rob Mclennan, Rob Mclennan's Blog

    Dorothea Lasky addresses those changes brought on by motherhood — and intrinsically linked to womanhood — in poems that, in turn, provoke and bruise, regret and rage. Milk establishes both its tenor and energy in the first poem.
    Carl Little, Hyperallergic

  • Dorothea Lasky is the author, most recently, of The Shining  (October 2023), and Animal, published in 2019 in the Bagley Wright Lecture Series. She is also the author of five full-length collections of poetry Milk (Wave Books, 2018), Rome (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2014), Thunderbird (Wave Books, 2012), Black Life (Wave Books, 2010), and AWE (Wave Books, 2007). She is also the author of six chapbooks: Matter: A Picturebook (Argos Books, 2012), The Blue Teratorn (Yes Yes Books, 2012), Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), Tourmaline (Transmission Press, 2008), The Hatmaker’s Wife (2006), Art ( H_NGM_N Press, 2005), and Alphabets and Portraits (Anchorite Press, 2004). Born in St. Louis in 1978, she has poems that have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, The Laurel Review, MAKE magazine, Phoebe, Poets & Writers Magazine, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Paris Review, and 6x6, among other places. She is the co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney's, 2013), co-author of Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac (with Alex Dimitrov, Flatiron Books, 2019) and is a 2013 Bagley Wright Lecturer on Poetry. She holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania, is a graduate of the MFA program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and has been educated at Harvard University and Washington University. She has taught poetry at New York University, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts and lives in New York City.

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN# 9781940696645 (5.75x8.25 160pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696638 (5.75x8.25 160pp, limited edition hardcover)

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