Jenn will be reading and signing books at the following venues this fall 2016: September 23rd at 2 pm. Pleiades Visiting Writers Series. The University of Central Missouri. Check out …
The Girl (Whose Mother Filled Her Belly With Meth & Let Terrible People Mutilate Her Body Before Killing Her) Runs Away
31 Aug 2016 Leave a comment
She does not immediately want you to read her story on the front page of the newspaper at the Walgreens on Universe & Paradise where you’re refilling your living girl’s prescription & buying your girl, safe, a bottle of crystal blue Gatorade. She wants you to keep your eyes on your girl, playing hopscotch across the automatic doors opening & closing & opening. She wants you to pick up a yellow umbrella, to notice the inky splotches of sky forming behind the hills in the distance. She wants you to remember those hills are volcanoes, that they are sleeping, & sleeping things wake up.
When you step into the shower that night, you admit you did look down at the counter & saw two women with their arms upraised. You thought it harmless to keep reading. You’ll never know who those women are needed comforting. Because the caption said what it said about the mother & what she let her boyfriend do, because you’re hyperventilating against the tile, the girl shampoos your hair & sings. Her song sounds like the one you taught her, for gathering yourself from the drain like hairs, like colorful strips of paper for the collage you’ve never stopped working on. She tells her plan. It is so smart, she is so smart. You smile as she dips your head back into the warm water and rinses the soap from your eyes. It doesn’t even sting the way she does it. She promises you she will check on you while you sleep & shows you the light. She promises she will run toward it, past the rusting ditches in the empty desert stretch behind your house. & because you didn’t write the story & because she didn’t want you to—
you believe her.
29 Jul 2016 2 Comments
My book is now available from Pleiades Press.
If you’d like a signed copy of LANDSCAPE WITH HEADLESS MAMA (17.95 + 2.50 shipping), you can order it directly from me and I’ll send the book to you!
Thank you for your support! Just click on the following link to pay using PayPal.
23 Mar 2016 Leave a comment
in Published poems Tags: adoption poetry, borderland poetry, child loss poetry, childbirth poetry, contemporary poetry, dark fairy tale poetry, Jenn Givhan poetry book, La Llorona, Landscape with Headless Mama, Latina poetry, magical real poetry, marriage poetry, Mexican American poetry, Mexican folktales, motherhood poetry
Available from Pleiades Press.
Also available for pre-order from Amazon.
Contact Jenn for a signed copy.
Landscape with Headless Mama is a poetry collection by Jennifer Givhan that explores the experiences of becoming and being a mother through the lens of dark fairy tales. Givhan describes the book as “a surreal survival guide.” A poet with strong roots in the desert southwest, Givhan incorporates fine art and folkloric influences from Latin American culture into her poetry. Drawing inspiration from Gloria Anzaldúa, Frieda Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, tattoo artists, and comic book heroes, among other sources, this is a book of intelligence, humor, deep feeling, and, above all, duende.
“Pardon me, but I’m shivering a bit at my core. These are restless, storm-hued stanzas, revelations of our dark cravings and hapless, woefully imperfect attempts at perfect love. Here are the dreams even our dreams won’t reveal, flaunting wild edges and endings that nudge the soul, each fusing of lyric and lesson as potent as a backhand slap. And Mama watches everything. Mama sees it all.” – Patricia Smith
“The landscape of poet Jennifer Givhan’s searing first book may be that of the desert southwest, but is lush with language, thick with a personal symbology and unsparingly true. If Frida Kahlo and Remedios Varo wrote poems together, that book just might be Landscape with Headless Mama. The women in Givhan’s poetry are a fierce crew. They fight, are flayed and are teenagers at the fair. They catastrophize, hallucinate, hula and struggle with this damnable world. These are true border poems, restlessly crossing between the real and the surreal, the loved and the used up, the fertile and the infertile, and the hungry and the sated. Jennifer Givhan is a dangerous poet in all the necessary ways.” – Connie Voisine
“What’s living without fear of getting lost?” That’s only one of many empowering moments in Jennifer Givhan’s auspicious debut. Her “blood magic” ink delivers the hard truths that kick-start the healing of the “splintered cactus” that hurdles the path of a woman’s journey. Landscape with Headless Mama blossoms with the “strange alloys of sadness” that devastate motherhood and femininity, and then nurture their wounds back to vibrant life. – Rigoberto González
In Jennifer Givhan’s Landscape with Headless Mama, the vivid truth of these poems evokes both the wince of pain and the head-rush of joy, the familial and the romantic disconnections we endure and those connections found in the same terrain that we, still, manage to cherish. If there’s a line in these poems that doesn’t surprise, I couldn’t find it; one never knows where the poem will take us. I found myself tracing “maps of the borderland into my body/ cliff dwelling, the taste of red brick on the tongue….” Each figure rendered, each voice conjured comes to life with their distinct journey, and Givhan continues to remind us of yet another truth: “There are other ways for the story to end.” Indeed, the possibilities seem limitless in this world she builds. If a collection of poems can be called a page-turner, this is what it feels like. – A. Van Jordan
09 Mar 2016 Leave a comment
My poem “If the Jornada del Muerto had a Trachea” is included in this year’s Sundress Publication Best of the Net! I’m over the moon & beyond! Check out the stunning, gorgeous work my poem is alongside as well.
All the poetry love,
06 Jan 2016 Leave a comment
My poem THE CHANGE, a finalist for the The Jane Lumley Prize, is up at
H E R M E N E U T I C C H A O S J O U R N A L:
Read the poem here.
(And I love this prompt Tausha Johnson came up with for incorporating magical realism into our writing, using “The Change” as a model!)
22 Sep 2015 Leave a comment
Read and listen to the rest of the poem at Drunken Boat.