JOSEPH by Dena Rash Guzman
JOSEPH by Dena Rash Guzman
A howl billowing up from love’s underworld, Joseph tells the story of passion pitted against patriarchy. Its speaker shifts shapes as she spins her tale: she is mother, mistress, witness, wife, sorceress, nurse, and rebel. She is Joseph’s greatest scourge and his most tenacious survivor.
This book declares that a woman’s capacity for constant change — a timeworn weapon in the misogynist’s arsenal — anoints and serves her refusal to be silenced. The poems themselves veer between domestic, natural, and surreal spaces. After all, love and war have always kept each other company, whether in the forest, the kitchen, or the ether. Joseph himself never appears, but through these psalms of panic, politics, romance, and gore, we trace his missteps with a fascination both forensic and tender.
Dena Rash Guzman is a beekeeper, freelance writer and poet born in Las Vegas, Nevada. She lived for five years on her family's remote organic farm in Oregon's Sandy River Gorge. While there she launched Unshod Quills, a journal of poetry and art and assisted Jenny Forrester in founding Unchaste Readers, a Portland reading series featuring women and non-binary writers. Her work has appeared in the Rumpus, Ink Node, Luna Luna, the Nervous Breakdown, Gertrude, Literary Orphans, and has been featured on Harriett, the Poetry Foundation blog. Dena's first full length book, the best-selling and critically acclaimed Life Cycle was released by Dog On A Chain Press in 2013. She lives in Gresham, Oregon.
Advance praise for JOSEPH:
"There is a salty bloody pulse to Dena Rash Guzman's work that stays with you after you've put down the book. These are not poems for the timid reader. There is muscle and beauty that stares you in the eye and dares you to look away. This work is mouthy and loud and a distinct pleasure to read."
Shannon Barber, Self Care Like A Boss
"Joseph is bawdy and boisterous, profane and profound, personal and political, entertaining and educational, universal and specific, confrontational and humble. These poems embody the complexities and contradictions of living as a woman in contemporary America."
Wendy Chin-Tanner, Turn, American Terrorist
"With poems such as “Back Away From My Bloodhut, Joseph" this second collection by Dena Rash Guzman acknowledges and embraces as it rejects, spits on, and destroys traditional expectations The speaker lives in a gyre of anger, loathing, desire and armor, expressing simultaneously essential power and vulnerability. Joseph has been served notice: 'I will ring your bell,/son./I will ring your bell.'"
KMA Sullivan, Necessary Fire
"Strange, original and profoundly intimate, the work of Dena Rash Guzman interrogates thousands of years of failed love. These poems are classics as well as contemporary in the great tradition of feminist poetry. With her hard-earned, gloriously contemptuous wisdom, she gives us the clarity we need in navigating the modernity of love as embodied warfare."
Nikki Wallschlaeger, I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel
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