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!
VOICES THROUGH SKIN
Sibling Rivalry Press is proud to release its first full-length collection by a female poet: VOICES THROUGH SKIN by Theresa Senato Edwards. In her debut collection of poems, Theresa gives voice to womanhood, from daughter and mother to warrior and lover. Through whispers and screams, her words shatter the glass of the page; and when the conversation is over, a song of strength reverberates.
Theresa’s manuscript was chosen out of hundreds of submissions in our first open call. Sibling Rivalry Press has tagged itself as the home of underground artistic talent – “Outlaw poetry,” to be exact, and VOICES THROUGH SKIN perfectly captures and represents our vision. No other poet could have as spectacularly broken our glass ceiling.
We’re not alone in our praise of Theresa:
Ingrid Pruss, Ph.D., Western Connecticut State University:
Touch is the bridge that connects the mind to the body in Theresa Senato Edwards’ debut collection of poetry VOICES THROUGH SKIN, a text that addresses the disease of contemporary culture’s social and emotional fragmentation, on the familial and national levels, and its effects on our bodies’ functioning as individuals, couples, families, and communities. Senato’s poetry resonates with the music of her soul which she communicates in jagged rhythms, unique duet and performance forms, and in the echoes of the past in the present, permeating her work; but Senato’s poetry insists on revising the future while savoring and saving all she has learned from her story. Memories may be tattooed on the skin and soul, but the poet has the power of language and the gift of the present moment to redesign her legacy. These are wise poems written with economy of words and down-home flavor. They are poems of experience, the results of having wrestled with life-issues—from abortion and divorce to cancer and triumphing—an inspired collection!
Arlene Ang, author of Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu:
Senato Edwards’ poems bring to mind Georgia O’Keefe’s evocative flower paintings. However, in their journey between mind and body, the petals have withered; the colors have fractured into becoming even more fervent in their desire to live after being touched by loss and anguish.
Marist College’s Gloria Brownstein:
There’s a new TSE joining the ranks of English language poets. With VOICES THROUGH SKIN, Theresa Senato Edwards establishes herself as a no-holds-barred chronicler of the gut-wrenching feelings of love, loneliness, loss, guilt, and sometimes, in the end, redemption. Only the most gifted poets can bring such searing insight into the darkest hidden corners of the human condition.
Annmarie Lockhart, editor of vox poetica:
Edwards uses faceted language, a fine ear for distance, and varied poetic structure to nurture beauty from scabs and scars. She digs up a blooming, vining garden of pain, unafraid of getting her hands dirty, taking her readers through layered images of hurt (both historic and personal), and guiding our fingers over the worried notch on her childhood door, drawing us into a ‘smooth wooden pool of calm.’ Hers is a work of terrible beauty.
Amazon Reviewer Grady Harp:
Theresa Senato Edwards is not afraid to place before the readers’ eyes topics of incipient delicacy as breast cancer, passionless physical responsibility sessions, death, lupus, physical abuse, those idiosyncratic ways we all face the big events in life and after. Even her style of writing invites the eye to jerk across the page and gather the momentum of her messages as though a willing captive. Secrets whispered, memories distorted by time and incidents – she touches these with a sense of veracity that makes us stop and relate. [These poems] reflect and refract light and pain and living that are contained in this volume – a book whose cover (the art of Christine Blu Ashton) boldly suggests the works inside. Once again the notable Sibling Rivalry Press has discovered and shared significant new poetry.
VOICES THROUGH SKIN continues the Sibling Rivalry Press tradition of strong cover art, this time with “Hollow Spaces” by Christine Blu Ashton.
Theresa Senato Edwards lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, with her family. She teaches and tutors at Marist College. Theresa is also founding editor/publisher of Holly Rose Review. Her web site is www.tacse.blogspot.com.
We asked Theresa why she wrote Voices Through Skin:
I’ve had OCD since I was about four years old, maybe younger, but I’m not sure. I didn’t know what I had until I was 26 and watched a 60 minutes episode that really can be credited with introducing the disorder to the world. I was one of many people who realized because of that show that I had OCD. When I wrote the book, I funneled some of my symptoms into the poems, some of the rituals (“Her Rituals”), the worries of absurd things (“Homesick”), the counting (“Back Seat”), the repetitions (“The Touch of the Notch”), and the fears (“Joanie Bach”). Voices Through Skin also shares a child’s confusion with her gender (“Bending” and “Closet”), among other confusions; other disorders as seen in poems like “Lady,” “The Smell of Alcohol,” “Voices in Dad’s Chest,” “On Your Back,” and “His Profile.” With Voices Through Skin, I hope to reach anyone who has OCD or any similar disorder in which they constantly question their thoughts or actions.