ISBN: 978-1-59948-908-7, 70 pages, $14 (+ shipping)
Release Date: March 4, 2022
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Sadie Shorr-Parks teaches writing at Shepherd University, where she is the Director for the Society for Creative Writing. Her writing has previously appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Aquifer: The Florida Review, Blueline, Cimmaron Review, Lines+Stars, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sierra Nevada Review, Southwest Review, Utne Reader, and Witness, among others. Her book reviews can be found in Los Angeles Review of Books and Southern Literary Review. She edited Becoming International: Musings on Studying Abroad in America (Parlor Press).
Honey Month is the book you read on a bleak day to wake up your incandescent inner world. I love how Shorr-Parks’ (Anne Sexton-esque) wry stance cracks into self-doubt and a reverie she submits to fully: speaking—singing!—out of the dream. She’s awestruck, and it’s contagious. “I am prepared,” she says, “to abide. / when the black lake croaks, / and the white blooms unencrypt, / and I ask only to be uncovered …” ~John Wall Barger, author of Resurrection Fail
Sadie Shorr-Parks’ work yearns toward one sustaining and reckoning question: what does the natural world teach us about our bodies, about the affective dimensions of our beautiful, terrible human-ness? Honey Month is a book of unrelenting desire, each poem a tributary leading us out to a vastness beyond language. A stunning debut collection from a poet with deep sensibility and unending grace. ~Stacey Waite, author of Butch Geography
“Tonight is wonderful, / considering,” writes Sadie Shorr-Parks in her unmistakably angular way, and the cicada, with its improbable, extravagant life, serves as an apt companion. “Just so, just to, just when”—these surprising poems make their way, finding comfort in the details, and taking us, tenderly, along. ~Mary Ann Samyn
I didn’t want to shout
in my breakfast dress,
so I ended up looking soft.
That’s just the risk you run.
Now I am crying creek tears
and holding my dog to my chest
for comfort and dramatic effect.
Cicadas cover the window screen
and I claim to see nothing
but everywhere aged nymphs
rise from the soil.
Yesterday we plucked berries
still swaddled in leaves
and sent them down the river.
We wore something akin to culottes
and swatted our skin all lunch break
amid the roaring motorcycle riders.
Mosquitos are rambunctious bothers.
Cicadas are too deep to act like that.
The cicadas present just loafed on the bench
as if slightly gracious for the shade.
Said the Girl to the Mirror
I swore not to spend all summer jealous
of my friend’s new friends, nor fuming
on the southbound Chinatown bus,
barreling to my ex-boyfriend’s abode,
yet here I am,
in leggings, nonetheless.
Life’ll get you.
The passenger with blushing eyeballs
keeping his rat cage on his lap?
He got got by life, too.
I tell myself this to mollify my temper.
I try to be more longhaired about his choices.
It’s his rat.
Feeling fat, I became forgiving
and wanted some space from my reflection,
but my face sat plastered on the windowpane
ahead of me, hovered above the landscape,
all the way to Virginia, even after nightfall,
round and pale like a swollen moon.
I’m practicing my skills at cooling down.
Construction beams of light
enter the bus through the window,
tightening rows of purple eyelids.
Rat King Coal
If this city is built on coal, then soon this town will be all diamonds. Coal thoughts are captured worries, caused by a fear of one’s tap water. Now it’s just me and the pebble I’ve kicked for two blocks. I feel ready to explain: the clipped mountains keep snarling at me each time I try to atone.
I stay in bed in the place where I live. I light prayer candles and whisper desperado words. West Virginia breaks and hisses around me. I look at my hands to prove they’re not shaking. Drunk boys start singing outside my window, holy chorus, singing mountaineers. I think it’s a sign. I think it’s a gift. One hallelujah to a chipped ceiling then back to sleep.
I hear a hiss rising, but Abe tells me the ground doesn’t get angry. Palms touched, we say heaven help everyone but those who leave. Abe promises we’ll grapple with contamination later, closer to Tuesday.
I called her Rat King Coal because I wanted to hurt her feelings. Your thoughts are full of coal, like the Christmas stocking of a bully. And your Audi looks like a stolen jewel parked on a sheet of asphalt. You’re not at all clear like winter fields.
The earth is always disinfecting.
Holy, Holy, if I can’t be holy, I’ll move to place where there’s lots of trees. I have prayer beads tangled through my fingers, but I still feel afraid. I want to have a soul a breeze can blow through. The earth can purify, and if it can purify me, I think it can save me.
If I could just be good, keep my mind at the pace of an oak tree, if I could see God again, if I could just sink deeper into this moment of lemon colored sky.