Pomegranate by Meghan Adler

$14.00 $8.00

Product Description

poems by

Meghan Adler


ISBN: 978-1-59948-667-3,  ~72 pages, $14

Projected Release Date:  March 2018 

A Discount Price of $8 will be available for a limited time prior to publication and may be discontinued at any time.

PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

About The Author

Meg Adler author portraits

Meghan Adler has been an elementary school educator for over twenty-five years. When not supporting students in the areas of literacy, she can be found at cafès on Valencia Street writing and/or reading poetry. Meghan honed her craft at The Writers Studio in New York, and since then, continues to learn from her favorite poetry teachers in workshops across the globe. Meghan’s award-winning poems can be found in Alimentum, Gastronomica, Lumina, The North American Review, Rattle, and even on an Eric Kent wine bottle.


With vivid details and description, Meghan Adler creates memories of family, lovers, and strangers, making a multi-faceted portrait of a woman’s life. In natural, conversational lines, she invites us in and then carries us deeper. No wonder this book is titled Pomegranate! These poems are full of marvelous food and rich words that are delicious in the mouth. So that by the end, I am, like her, sitting at a blue-flowered tablecloth scattered with sugar/...picking up each sweet crystal,/licking my fingers, one at a time. --Ellen Bass


Fearlessness and loss co-exist in Meghan Adler’s poems; honesty and a keen self-awareness do, too. The precision of autobiographical details—Revlon Red, say, or “the raised seams of jock straps”—takes on the simultaneous weight of elegy and desire. There is much grief in these troubling, witty poems, but also faith, appropriately disabused, in the usefulness of art: “Each day is its own poem.” Pomegranate begins in inquiry—How do you say, gone—and ends, with the hope “to be lifted,” in hope.  --Randall Mann


What is the self? What comprises the portrait of the artist? What determines who we are? In her spectacular debut collection, Pomegranate, Meghan Adler draws from childhood memories, romantic relationships, ancestral voices, and poetic precursors in order to create a map of internal and external identities. Through an ingenious deployment of botanical metaphors, Adler’s candid and capacious poems explore the development of a woman and a poet from seed to plant to blossom to fruit.  --Dean Rader


Renovation I

For Sarah


After my twin sister and I
fed Rudolph, our red-nosed goldfish, the only
pet our mother wasn’t allergic to, we carried
our matching green and yellow sleeping bags
to the stairs. Between the first and second floor
of newly stained 1860 banisters, freshly hung
blue-beige grass wallpaper, smells of wood polish,
bamboo stalks, and Tide filled the air, we labored,
unzipping our cotton cocoons to form tarps,
securing them with masking tape from the junk drawer.
Finished fort; we splayed out on the stairs
as best we could, dividing our bodies between
levels and layers and read with a flashlight
about Nancy Drew’s secret old clock.
We were happy and warm and together,
while our kind mother and father renovated
the other parts of our house instead of their marriage.
If we had known this was our last summer as a nuclear family,
maybe my sister and I would have taken better care
of that antique wallpaper, before ripping
the tape off too fast, leaving peeled back spots
of raw sheet rock, gray and unadorned.



I used to steal bras from Bloomingdale’s
where real women shopped: lipsticked,
high-heeled grown-ups in suits searching
for perfection. Red silk and satin C-cup push-ups,
mesh and black and slutty bustiers.
Before sensors and tags, security guards and guilt,
I piled two or three onto my virgin breasts,
putting my old bra on top, shirt and jean jacket
back on, walking out the revolving glass doors.
I didn’t mind the generic cotton ones
Mom bought at Carter’s: good girls
wore them happily without complaining,
as sixty-dollar price tags and fancy
French labels waited for me in secret at midnight.
While suburbia slept in the dark,
I went to my shoebox at the bottom
of my closet and played bad-girl dress-up
in front of my mirror. Everybody,
get up and do your thing, I sang
like Madonna, rubbing my nipples
till they peeked through the lace.

The Sexual Education of My Mother


At 12, my grandmother gave my mother The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Sex. A girl prayed on the cover and she wondered what the girl might be asking. You’ll be a woman soon, my grandmother said, handing her a box of Kotex, a belt and a pile of brown paper bags. My mother figured the belt attached itself to a zipper inside her stomach. At 13, she went to Camp Madonna with the book hidden in her suitcase and asked Margaret O’Connell to explain what happened between her legs. You will be cursed once a month with blood in your underpants, Margaret told her. At 15, my mother wasn’t allowed to hang posters of Elvis in her bedroom. Too much movement below the waist, my grandmother said. So she secretly watched him shimmy on The Ed Sullivan Show – volume turned to 0. At 17, Father Sullivan told my mother she could kiss a boy for less than three seconds. Over three was a venial sin. Over five was a mortal sin and she was going to Hell. Anything over ten required a mouthful of Hail Mary’s. Some girls were smart enough to count slowly: Onnnne, twoooo, threeeee. At 19, in college, my mother dated men who later came out of the closet. I was safe. No real kissing then. At 25, my mother read Gray’s Anatomy in nursing school and learned about the word ‘erection’ and realized that a penis went inside her. I was kept very pure for such a long time. At 32, my mother lost her virginity to my father on their wedding night at the Somerset Hotel and remembered what her bridesmaids told her: do not be afraid of the snake.



At a fruit stand, I’m trying to examine a pomegranate: ripe or rotten? And I want to call my dad and ask him to explain everything all over again. Ask him where periwinkles come from. His hands cupping my five-year-old face. Let’s go find their mothers and fathers. I sniff the pomegranate for sweetness. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. All I really want is to make that new salad I saw on a cooking show last week. Pomegranate, arugula, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and shredded dried ricotta. He’d know the difference in texture between dried ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I listen for the pit’s rattle. But it was the avocado he said to shake. I fish for one that isn’t too soft. A clear red without mold or bruises. I close my eyes and hear my dad: pick before overly ripe, before they crack open, especially if they’ve been rained on. Warm the fruit by rolling it between your hands to soften the insides, to ready the juice of the seeds.

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