Conversational, irreverent, and disarmingly honest, the poems of But She Is Also Jane follow the everyday contours of women’s lives and the expectations they grapple with. As our speaker approaches middle age, she copes with the loss of loved ones, the realities of an emptying nest, the routine indignities of sexism, and nostalgia for the past. Laura Read’s third poetry collection balances discussions of Degas, Vermeer, and Marie Curie with reflections on Sammy Hagar, a troubling outing to a male revue, and memories of watching Mork and Mindy on the night of her mother’s hysterectomy.
LAURA READ is author of Dresses from the Old Country, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, and the chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You. She served as poet laureate for Spokane, Washington, from 2015 to 2017 and teaches at Spokane Falls Community College and the Eastern Washington University MFA program in creative writing.
“Read the first half dozen pages of But She Is Also Jane and you’ll know there’s no stopping: the wit, poignancy, and unguardedness are astonishing—and never wane. Canny observations, instantly engaging questions (‘Is everything good also bad?’) and invaluable detours abound. And Laura Read’s syntax has a distinctive simplicity even when the emotional territory is complex. Hilarious and wise, this work is brilliantly constructed and deeply satisfying.”—Ellen Doré Watson, author of pray me stay eager
“Oh, treat that makes me weep, that chokes me with laughter, that chills me right down to my chalky, porous bones—you are But She Is Also Jane, a book that when I read it called up such a horrible sense of recognition as a woman that I nearly shuddered with sick pleasure. Nobody writes a poem like Laura Read. Nobody takes your head off like her, either.”—Keetje Kuipers, author of All Its Charms
“Like her jellyfish, Laura Read’s voice glows under water with a beauty that stings. But She Is Also Jane is about being made into ‘a Jane’ by systems, like the university, that bury their histories of abuse. Still, these poems stand on one sexy flamingo leg, balancing the intimacy of humor and the enormous task of remembering honestly.”—Taneum Bambrick, author of Intimacies, Received