Why Can't It Be Tenderness (Wisconsin Poetry Series) (Paperback)

By Michelle Brittan Rosado

University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299319946, 104pp.

Publication Date: November 27, 2018

List Price: 14.95*
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Charting a journey through schoolyards and laundromats, suburban gardens and rice paddies, yoga studios and rural highways, Michelle Brittan Rosado crafts poems that blend elegy and praise. In settings from California to Malaysian Borneo, and the wide Pacific between them, she explores themes of coming-of-age, mixed-race identity, diaspora, and cultural inheritance. With empathy for the generations past, she questions how we might navigate our history to find a way through it, still holding on to the ones we love. Like an ocean wave, these poems recede and return, with gratitude for the quotidian and for beauty found even in fragments.

bring me back

to the in-between

where my breath

has always lived,

without containment,

like two legs pointing

toward the ocean, or these arms

reaching into sky

—excerpt from "Ode to the Double 'L'" Michelle Brittan Rosado. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Michelle Brittan Rosado is the author of the poetry collection Theory on Falling into a Reef. She is pursuing her doctorate in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California.

Praise For Why Can't It Be Tenderness (Wisconsin Poetry Series)

"Strikes just the right, clear note to place in the register of memorable debuts. Rosado's terrific new poems are salve and honey, even when the subjects of breaking and coming apart are at their beautiful core. Listen to the brilliant music of these pages." —Aimee Nezhukumatathil, contest judge

"Exhilarating, tactile poems—embodied, rich and full. Michelle Brittan Rosado is a visionary architect building and following interior maps within intricate landscapes, creating luminous revelation and deep calm. A book like this gives you your life back." —Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Voices in the Air

"The sense of a divided homeland—California and Malaysia—first splits then doubles the impassioned focus of these precisely crafted, complexly braided meditations on the self and family inheritance. Psychologically searing and yet always resonant with the world's pleasures, these poems unfold as an album of belated and tender homecomings." —David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems

"An intimate book that draws the world inside its discoveries, both ordinary and extraordinary. Each poem offers us miracles by which we persist beyond the surface of language itself. Luminous in craft and intelligence, here is an original voice that questions, and ultimately celebrates, the profound wonder of our survival." —Rachel Eliza Griffiths, author of Lighting the Shadow