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In the middle of grad school and probation, a new family unit was born. Jacob's Hip by Rachel Wagner is a collection of poems about fighting to stick together through pregnancy, prison, and heartbreak. There's sex and bedbugs and jail visitation and more.
About the artist:
Nasreen Khan is an artist and writer living in Indianapolis by way of New York City. She grew up in West Africa and Indonesia and writes poetry to stay sane. She’s a lover of yellow roses and hard liquor and on a Friday night she can be found cooking various organ meats or chasing down a stellar mint julep. Her work can be found at NasreenKhan.art.
Greg:Another hit from my favorite poet.I've read all of Rachel's work and this is by far my favorite. The poems manage to fill in a lot of the mosaic created in her essay works. You see even more intimate reflections on being a single mother, visiting prison with her son, and generally just living in New Jersey. From the illustration on the cover to the pace and order of the pieces, the production is spot on. Well worth picking up.
Marco:Great title for a book was my 1st thought.This being the 4th or 5th book from Rachel Wagner that I have enjoyed. With each book she exposes more of herself in the areas that most ( people or authors )lack the courage to share. It's a quick read that gives the feeling of being on a fast ride. I actually took the ride twice after noticing that this was a book of poems and not a linar story. Reading it the second time while keeping in mind that these are poems gave the book a much different feel. The feel of a fast ride but not down the freeway but flashes while passing through different intersections. I find myself in a small battle over just being a passenger and enjoying the ride while Rachel drives vs. Being a back seat driver trying to tell this author to take right or left turns. This is a book that draws you in and engages you either as a simple passenger or a passenger looking in the vanity mirror on the backside of the visor. "I don't fuck anyone thinking, oh I hope I hope. I'm just trying to see what their dick do." One of the many standout lines in the book that when Rachel gets famous I'm sure these lines will be in her wikipedia page and/or listed as a quote on one of those "quotes by famous people websites".
Nathalie:Sooo favorite lines of the book "I don't fuck with anyone thinking, oh I hope I hope. I'm just trying to see what their dick do." Love it!! I laughed. I cried. I want more.
Notes from the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry workshop:What a dynamic piece Rachel debuted with—“pregnant in grad school”—It was a pure narrative, in prose form, telling the story of, well, you know. But the thing that made it special was how insouciant and vivid the language was: “By December I was limiting my caffeine, even though I wanted to drink like three free cappuccinos at the department’s get together thing.” And “I took off my shoes and got into a real fight with him then. Out in the hall, my dress would end up on the floor with me still in it.” Great stuff.
@slaughtersanity (on "Pregnant in Grad School"):I love your style and how you speak your truth so real, raw, and vivid. The world needs more of this. Women need more of this.
Notes from the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry workshop:Wonderful, biting, emotionally fraught stories--all three of them connected--"Pregnant in Grad School," "Life After Prison," and now "Repeat Visitor" about her and her son visiting her son's father in prison. What makes these pieces great is their vertiginous headlong voice, and their absolute grasp of the knots, the speed bumps and the hard landings that communicate that anguish of prison most quickly. Great stuff. Read it.
@letterbake (on "Repeat Visitor"):I loved it... 'He pretends to push the walls or lift the window up.' That image in particular will really stick with me--that he is pretending and is aware that he can only pretend--at such a young age.