One of our six Pushcart nominations, Ocean Vuong’s “Self-Portrait with Exit Wounds,” has won a Pushcart Prize and will be featured in the next Pushcart anthology. The poem first appeared in ASSARACUS ISSUE 08. Congratulations, Ocean!
“Imagine that things called color and taste and sex
—indeed the knotted thing called family—
were a constant revelation…”
- Ralph Hamilton, Editor of RHINO Magazine
From the Belly by Virginia Bell
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
$14.95; 68 Pages
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with DISCUSSION QUESTIONS & WRITING EXERCISES
The Book. In From the Belly, Virginia Bell opens the doors to a gallery of poetic meditations – on the tenderness of childhood and motherhood, the primal pleasures of food and sex, and the joyful aches of family and memory. The poems are by turns ekphrastic and self-consciously confessional, taking inspiration from the art of everyday things.
Chris Green, author of Epiphany School, says: Virginia Bell’s from the belly is pure pleasure and expertise. Poetry about all home matters secret, scary, and sweet. The body and its generations, our food and art. Poems both comfortable and ominous folded in fine linen but spotted with blood. The book, like a series of intimate paintings and photographs, is perfectly stilled. Bell is never hurried, and the reader is aware throughout of her technical skill, love, common sense, vision and magnificence.
Alice George, author of This Must be the Place, says: Like a painter who rejoices in the wrestle between abstraction and representation, Virginia Bell’s poems respect and illuminate their earthly triggers while transforming this world through an impressive craft and compression.
Angela Narciso Torres, author of the forthcoming Sampaguita, says: From the Belly digs into life’s moments of gravitas and goes into the achingly human experiences of coming of age, and growing old, which bear their own pleasures and pains. Because of the careful interweaving of art and life in these pages, the book creates a world where the lines between these two begin to blur, making for a cohesive and transformative experience.
Influenced by and suggested if you enjoy: Anne Carson’s Glass, Irony, and God; Mark Doty’s My Alexandria, School of the Arts; Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard; Elizabeth Alexander’s The Venus Hottentot; Lisel Mueller’s Alive Together; Louise Gluck’s The Wild Iris; Rita Dove’s Selected Poems; Emily Dickinson’s Selected Poems and Letters; Marie Howe’s What the Living Do; Christina Pugh’s Restoration; Ruth Stone’s Ordinary Words; Rita Dove’s Grace Notes; Heather McHugh’s Hinge and Sign; Adrienne Rich’s Midnight Salvage; Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjectionl Sally Mann’s Immediate Family (photography).
The Poet. Virginia Bell’s poetry has appeared in CALYX, a Journal of Art and Literature by Women, The Mom Egg, Poet Lore, Pebble Lake Review, Wicked Alice, Ekphrasis, Contrary Magazine, Woman Made Gallery’s Her Mark: a Journal of Art and Poetry, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, as well as in the anthologies Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose and Photography and A Writers’ Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obama’s Inauguration. Bell has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and has published articles on activist writers such as Eduardo Galeano and Leslie Marmon Silko, and also the Instructor’s Resource Manual for Beyond Borders: A Cultural Reader (Houghton Mifflin 2003). She is an associate editor with RHINO Magazine and an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago, where she particularly enjoys teaching courses on Women in Literature and Early American Literature.