Sleep-wasted, I shake out dusk. Evening is for solo-exploration, for lying
naked on the fresh made bed. My body is tinsel coat, my body is a blue dress
punched from sky. Pills make the archetype come easy: cherry Melatonin mixed
with Xanax, bitter blue. Swallow to turn inward. Swallow to skin-shrink like sealed flesh.
Sometimes I fall between the folds: my cerebellum
labyrinth. Sometimes I disappear entirely.
fruit fragrant. Cheek to pillow. Pillow to forest floor.
A peeling occurs. Who I am is the whittling—the collapse into cocoon-stasis.
Elsewhere, passed out
on the lumpy mattress, the cat swats at my visible tuft. My body buried in sheets, my brain
buried under layers of hypnogogia. Life continues:
coffee pot bubbling, televised re-runs, a radio show
piped through distant speakers. Something seeps
in the interstitial: an NPR voice filtering into the dream stream, intoning …feeling trapped…maze-like office buildings, fluorescent lit…almost a warren…
There is water here. In it, my reflection is a hundred things collected under one name.
Words for warren: bedding, burrow, rabbit hole.
Kia Alice Groom is founding editor of Quaint Magazine. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets award, the runner-up for the 2014 Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a pushcart nominee, Kia’s work has been published in Cordite, Going Down Swinging, The Australian Book Review,Westerly, Permafrost and others. Her work has been anthologized in the Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry and is forthcoming in various other collections. She divides her time between New Orleans, Louisiana and wherever she goes when she falls asleep.
Exploring the intersection of shame and anger, my work is a fantasy autobiographic. Emerging as lived experience and reenactment daydreams, my poems reflect hostile aggression
against an embodied woman, spectral tendencies to dissociate, maneuver into escapist fantasies, or reproach with candor. It is a trial in empathy. The whole of the manuscript, daughterrarium, explores relationships which are not chosen, which are often mitigated, and exploited as a backdrop to sexual fantasy or maidship. Despite, what emerges by the end of the collection is something with such strength.
What People Are Saying about daughterrarium
“There are those who have hurt you not because you are ignorant, but because you have a heart.” Sheila McMullin’s daughterrarium is a collection of the kindest rage I have ever seen. The book chronicles, among its tendernesses, McMullin’s refusal to turn the rage onto herself–“How not to blame myself for being fragile?”– and the difficulty of locating what is hurting us, or why, and how to heal a wound that is constantly re-opened. If you believe in rage, if you care deeply about women, then read this brilliant book again and again across your lifetime. Otherwise, “You have to get out of the way.”
What are we born into? What does it mean to be loved by God and Earth? What do we owe and to whom? How does one experience the fusion of anger and shame in a mind and body? What do the doctors say to the bodies that are broken? Where do the bodies go when they are taken away from themselves? How does a body heal itself? How does a body degrade itself? How does a body mourn and survive the trauma of fear, pain and abuse? I admire daughterrarium for pushing too far, for making me cringe with its representations of what one human can do to another, of what a body can do to itself. McMullin takes a tenacious look at violence and the abject while also interrogating, with great compassion, the nature of faith, family and growth.
In a dish of fevered poppies, glassy ranunculus, and red tide hunger, the daughter infects herself. She’s infected by self, burning up until McMullin’s cool hand runs across the daughterrarium’s viral waters. Cancer, the crab, a sunrise that won’t clot. The neogothic daughter, her many manifestations bleed together in this prize-winning jailbreak. She says [t]ake me out of this bed and put me back in the grass, but really she’s taking us. Out, back. Give her your hand or get out of her way.
PUBLISHER: Cleveland State University Poetry Center
Sarah Vap’s End of The Sentimental Journey is a beautiful collection of the most critically astute filth I’ve ever read. With humor, stunning insight, and shimmering vulgarity Vap invents a fresh means of poetic critique in the poem itself. What she unveils for us is our own culpability in the gendered policing of contemporary poetry. I, for one, feel stimulated at being called out. I love this book. –Dawn Lundy Martin READ MORE
Lydia’s Funeral Video by Sam Chanse
Lydia’s Funeral Video is a one-woman play that takes that most existential of quandaries — to be or not to be — and transposes it onto a dystopian not-so-distant future. READ MORE
Discussion Questions for daughterrarium
1. Did it make you think about your ancestors, your present family, your distant family, your plant family? I hope so, and how so?
2. How does this book interrogate the distance between shame and anger, and the somatic and/or thought spirals this can trigger?
3. The book uses several tones throughout — how does the movement through each enhance, compliment, complicate, deflate each other?
About Sheila McMullin
Sheila McMullin is author of daughterrarium (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2017). She co-edited the collections Humans of Ballou and The Day Tajon Got Shot from Shout Mouse Press. She volunteers at her local animal rescue, is a youth ally and organizer, and holds an M.F.A. from George Mason University. Find more about her writing, editing, and activism online at www.moonspitpoetry.com.
Exploring the intersection of shame and anger, my work is a fantasy autobiographic. Emerging as lived experience and reenactment daydreams, my poems reflect hostile aggression against an embodied woman, spectral tendencies to dissociate, maneuver into escapist fantasies, or reproach with candor. It is a trial in empathy. The whole of the manuscript, daughterrarium, explores relationships which are not chosen, which are often mitigated, and exploited as a backdrop to sexual fantasy or maidship. Despite, what emerges by the end of the collection is something with such strength.
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Rarely will readers/viewers find a themed issue at Eckleburg, but rather a mix of eclectic works. It is Eckleburg’s intention to represent writers, artists, musicians, and comedians as a contemporary and noninvasive collective, each work evidence of its own artistry, not as a reflection of an editor’s vision of what an issue “should” be. Outside of kismet and special issues, Eckleburg will read and accept unsolicited submissions based upon individual merit, not theme cohesiveness. It is our intention to create an experience in which readers and viewers can think artistically, intellectually, socially, and independently. We welcome brave, honest voices. To submit, please read our guidelines.
p style=”text-align: left;” align=”center”>Over the ashheaps the giant eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept their vigil, but I perceived, after a moment, that other eyes were regarding us with peculiar intensity from less than twenty feet away. – The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald