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Rachel Mennies: The Naomi Letters

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Told through a time-honored epistolary narrative, The Naomi Letters chronicles in poems the relationship between a woman speaker and Naomi, the woman she loves. These letter-poems form a braid, first from the use of found texts; next from the speaker’s personal observations about her bisexuality, Judaism, and mental illness; and lastly from her testimonies of past experiences. Her letters reveal the struggles, joys, and erasures the speaker endures as she becomes reacquainted with her own body following a long period of anxiety and suicidal ideation, working to recover both physically and emotionally as she grows to understand this long-distance love and its stakes.

 

“At once grief-limned, sharp, and funny, this book explores the desires, obsessions, and limitations of the writing body negotiating history on this particular planet sprinting toward the unknown. This is a book to read, and then read again, and then again.” —sam sax, author of bury it

 

Rachel Mennies will be in conversation with BOA Editions Publisher and Executive Director Peter Conners.

 

Rachel Mennies is the author of The Naomi Letters (BOA Editions, 2021) and The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (Texas Tech University Press, 2014), winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry and finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. Her poems and essays have been published in The BelieverAmerican Poetry ReviewKenyon Review, and elsewhere. She serves as the book reviews editor for AGNI and the series editor of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry at Texas Tech University Press. Mennies currently lives in Chicago, where she works as a writer, editor, and adjunct professor.