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Cover for Queen in Blue (Wisconsin Poetry Series #1)

Queen in Blue (Wisconsin Poetry Series #1)

Ambalila Hemsell


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This gorgeous and wry debut firmly claims physical strength, toughness, and authority for femininity. Ambalila Hemsell’s poems speak from a place of empowerment as well as wonder. They address the insatiable fear of motherhood and the violence embedded in natural processes of creation, birth, and survival. Her words flicker and glow with magical realism, just as they reveal profound truths shared by the miraculous and the mundane. This lush and lyric collection artfully tackles what it means to reconcile one’s own needs and desires with those of others, and to find abundance and strength in the midst of catastrophe.

Praise For Queen in Blue (Wisconsin Poetry Series #1)

“The work of an important new voice. These poems are transcendent and haunting. The breathtaking associative, spiritual, and psychological acrobatics in this poetry are not decorative or experimental or performative. The artistry here is a magician’s. She changes us. A reader could ask no more of any collection of poems.”—Laura Kasischke, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry

“Hemsell gets it. She has written an incredible debut that anyone who plans to tend to our beloveds or our beloved earth in the coming days simply must read. This is the eco-poetics we need in the world. Don’t let the beauty distract you from the call to action.”—Danez Smith, author of Don’t Call Us Dead

“At once a splendor of lyricism and a contemplative account of lineage, otherness, and ethnicity. Hemsell’s extraordinary verbal deftness precisely locates the still-tender pains and triumphs of being a mother, a daughter, and a lover while still trying to be an individual in the world.”—Airea D. Matthews, author of Simulacra

University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299326647, 120pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

About the Author

Ambalila Hemsell is a writer, musician, and educator from Colorado. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and appeared in numerous publications, including Fairy Tale Review, the American Literary Review, and the Florida Review.