Praise for Mortal
I would like to welcome Ivy Alvarez's luminous contribution to the long list of poets who have taken the Persephone and Demeter myth and made it their own. From Alfred Lord Tennyson to Edna St Vincent Millay, and most recently, Rita Dove, we can add Ivy Alvarez's elegant footsteps as marks that will endure.
Sharpness of perception, whether of taste, eye or ear, is what defines this tightly written collection. The sharpness of the heart as mothers and daughters strain to find continuity, the sharpnesses of a sometimes painful, sometimes delightful present, and the deep poignancies of memory, are incised across these poems. Here's a striking new voice to accompany us from Hades to Tasmania, from myth to mother.
Ivy Alvarez's Mortal re-envisions myth, present voice calling to ancient voice, and vice versa. Alvarez is an ambitious poet who challenges herself and her readers, while exploring the complexities of familes through persona. Mortal is a stunning first book.
Read sample poems.
Patricia Prime, Famous Reporter
To make more complex folds from these folded meanings is to attempt an activity which, in Alvarez’s hands, is never less than exhilarating for the reader and which mimics another kind of social order — that of experience and memory. ... The achievement of the poems in this collection lies in part in their counterpoising of the profoundly personal with a kind of objectivist impersonality, with the discovery of idioms in which the two can co-exist.
Craig Santos Perez, Boxcar Poetry Review
Alvarez’s casual tone, visceral imagery, and surprising figurative language keeps the reader engaged throughout.
Ernesto Priego, Galatea Resurrects
The poems in Mortal grow in the reader like teeth, they break the skin, grow inwards before finally seeking an exit out of the body, through the mouth, to become expression, to grind and bite in survival and in love, in sex and in everything which is pleasurable.
Jeannine Hall-Gailey, GR
Alongside poems of mothers giving birth, a daughter struggling to come to terms with her mother’s breast cancer, and the fragile lives of flowers and insects, these mythological poems evoke a mournful and timeless struggle with mortality.
Anne Haines, GR
The book ends up not being about breast cancer so much as it is an exploration of the mother/daughter bond and what is passed from one generation to the next, which is sometimes dark and bloody and painful.
Cover art by Christine Hamm
Available from these sites:
- Dylan Thomas Centre Bookshop (UK)
- Amazon US and Amazon UK
- Small Press Distribution (USA)
- The Philippine Expressions Bookshop (USA)
- Fullers Bookshop (Australia)