Winner of the 2021 Idaho Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky, Stem is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press in fall 2022.
“Lisa Allen Ortiz’s Stem should come with a warning label. These poems might stick to your hair, get under your fingernails, slide under your ribs, infiltrate your comfort zone. They might stun you with the strangeness of being an animal called human, lure you into the eyes of trees, dismay you with evidence of your kinship with dirt and death. Ortiz deconstructs the ordinary syntax of language and life, and uses the bits to articulate the cries and murmurs of owls, grasses, flowers, streets, whale bones, and the body’s own wild desires and hungers. In this way, bypassing our deadening habit of making sense, and as in the fairy tale where the river reeds whisper who killed the child, these poems bring us unsettling news of the unbearable fragility of the world, of terrible secrets buried deep in childhood, or in our own viscera of longing and bewilderment at the shock of mortality. The warning label should read: You will never be the same after this book. You will enter a radical, gritty, gorgeous luminosity from which you will not recover.”
—Frances Hatfield, PhD, poetry editor for Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche, author of Rudiments of Flight: Poems, senior training analyst, C. G. Jung Institutes of Santa Fe and San Francisco.