Books

Day of the Child

From Arra Lynn Ross, a tender, generous, and generative extended poem centered on the experience of parenthood.

“What is learned? I’ll return for my son; / at school, at three thirty-eight, bells will ring & run / days over years.” Using unpredictable syllabics, rhyme, and syntax, Day of the Child captures the sensation of altered time that accompanies a child’s growth. Seasons come and go. A schoolboy becomes a dreaming infant becomes a five-year-old exploring metaphor for the first time becomes an ultrasound image, “a frieze on screen.” A mother cycles through her own often dissonant identities: “soother, watcher, blame-taker.” And both mother and child assume another, significant role: artistic collaborators.

For Day of the Child is a poem co-created by child and mother, offering a space in which each’s stories, thoughts, words―“unbound / by Time & time’s delineations”―tangle together. In which apartness―“Oh indivisible divisible,” the presence of another heart beating inside the mother’s own body―is continually negotiated. And in which the mother considers her place as intermediary between the child and the world: her protection, her complicity, her joy. Its octave pairs ebb and flow, expand and contract, producing a portrait of raising another human as refracted as it is circular, just as a river “breaks into many suns, the sun.” For, as the child asserts, “love is a circl[e] round / as a Ball.”

Challenging the notion that parenthood is not itself a poetic endeavor, Day of the Child makes of childrearing “a refrain I reframed each day with new words.”

Forthcoming Fall 2021.

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Seedlip and Sweet Apple

Seamlessly bridging the material and spiritual worlds, Seedlip and Sweet Apple takes the reader into the mind of a true visionary: Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker religion in colonial America. With astonishingly original poems inspired by extensive historical research, Arra Lynn Ross creates a collection linked thematically through the voice and story of the woman who was believed by her followers to be Christ incarnate. Broadly and inclusively spiritual, this remarkable debut captures the ineffable experience of ecstatic vision, activating the progression from literal reality to heightened perception. Simultaneously, this journey delves into the manifold issues of gender and religion, public image, and charismatic leadership, as well as the line between cult and commune and the tenuous bond between faith and behavior. Written in an impressive cornucopia of forms — including iambic quatrains, free verse, and prose poems — Seedlip and Sweet Apple honors a complex figure startlingly relevant to contemporary life, pointing to a revolutionary way to work at living — and to live in working — that promises simplicity, peace, and joy.

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Further Poems

“[An appled laugh. . .]” and “[As fingers in water. . .].” Selections from the long poem “The Magdalene Tower.” Cave Wall, Number 16. Winter 2019/Spring 2020.

Excerpt from “The Magdalene Tower.” Denver Quarterly. Volume 52.4, 2018.

Excerpt from “The Magdalene Tower.” Prairie Schooner. Spring 2018.

Note: was chosen for a Glenna Luschei Award.  Spring 2019.

“Learn To Sing By Singing” Broadside. Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Print Artist: Katie Platte.

“Learn to Sing by Singing” on Linebreak.

“In the Foothills” and “From III.” Yamasee Journal.

“[How I Set Her Down].” Tupelo Quarterly. Volume I: Q1.

“Mother Ann Tells Lucy What Gave Her Joy.” Academy of American Poets.

“Eat” on Verse Daily.

“Heiros Gamos” and “A Means of Approach to Ecstasy.” Prairie Schooner. Vol. 85, Number 2, Summer 2011.