The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Holding my Selves Together by Margaret Rozga

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Callista Buchen, is from Holding my Selves Together by Margaret Rozga, released by Cornerstone Press in 2021. 

A Grin Before the Cat Appears

Alice falls deep
into the natural world,
but finds a hookah-smoking
caterpillar with no sense
of the future, of its own future,
finds a grin before the cat appears,
finds a flood, finds disaster
after ecological disaster, finds
a tea party where no one is invited
to take a place at the empty chairs,
finds tyranny served by minions
shallow as playing cards, finds
animals used as game pieces, finds
all quarrel so dreadfully
one can’t hear one’s-self speak, finds
only one way of settling all difficulties.
At bottom, such a world.

Margaret Rozga’s fifth book is Holding My Selves Together: New and Selected Poems (Cornerstone Press, 2021). Two of her previous books were named Outstanding Achievements in Poetry by the Wisconsin Library Association in the years of their publication. As 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate, she co-edited the anthology Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems (Art Night Books, 2020) and the chapbook anthology On the Front Lines / Behind the Lines (pitymilkpress, 2021). In 2021 she served as the inaugural artist/scholar at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee at Waukesha Field Station and is currently working on a book of poems inspired by the Field Station’s ninety acres of restored prairie. 

Callista Buchen is the author of the full-length collection Look Look Look (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and Double-Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals. She is the winner of the DIAGRAM’s essay contest and the C.D Wright conference’s Emerging Writer award, and is the founder of the Carlson-Stauffer Reading Series at Franklin College. 


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