In her debut poetry collection Carly Joy Miller surprises and enraptures on every page. The visceral poems of Ceremonial figure the body at its most sublime and at its most feral with equal attention. With an unflinching eye Miller crafts psalms of petition and praise from the raw material of life.
Carly Joy Miller's work has appeared in The Adroit Journal Blackbird Boston Review Gulf Coast West Branch and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor at Poetry International and a founding editor of Locked Horn Press. Her chapbook Like a Beast won the 2016 Rick Campbell Prize and was published by Anhinga Press in 2017.
"In her luscious debut [...] [Miller] conjures powerful images of refusal to be confined by societal expectations of womanhood. On display is an inner life marked by the active embrace of both victories and defeats garnered in the face of defiance of others' demands. [...] In the process of discovering the self Miller cuts a new path through an old wood." -Publishers Weekly
"Miller's book is a strange testament teeming with some of the most original poems you'll encounter this year. ...Metamorphoses saturate this book suggest our bodies and souls are in flux. There's a lot of wonder to get lost within here this is a book to awaken the imagination." - The Millions
"Carly Joy Miller is relentless. She doesn't want you to breathe normally." - Foreword Reviews
Ceremonial disturb in such a way as to make us entirely rethink who we are and where. Ceremonial offers a post-apocalyptic landscape to be navigated by poems that together become a moral compass-the compass Protean however ever-shifting maybe trustworthy and maybe not. Here to bless a thing can mean to put an axe to it the impulse to save what's broken competes with an impulse to look indifferently away from it the topography is one of damage-accident or what only looks or is meant to look like accident. And yet there is tenderness too and vulnerability. The poems variously revel in regret and feel strange compassion for the beast of desire-of restlessness-inside us all: "Still I kiss / his jaw wild with yellow // jackets. I shepherd / too long in his furs." Part of the power of these poems is the coolness of their sensibility a refusal to back entirely down: 'Don't blink in disbelief ' we're told at one point 'ill from the chandelier with a pearl strand. Swing the lights.' I stand persuaded." - Carl Phillips judge of the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize
"Carly Joy Miller's poems are wild restless creatures. They scare me in the best way balancing between pleasure and pain and brokenness and wholeness with lyricism intelligence and disarming composure: 'Nothing delights more / than his horns. // How they rouge me.' Reading Miller's thrilling debut Ceremonial I'm reminded of what happens when something breaks: there's a brightness more facets to reflect the light." - Maggie Smith
"Here is the poet who knows the sensual art of speaking in tongues. ...'To be young and lopsided in faith'- not a kind of prayer one would expect from the young poet in any age nevermind 2018. And yet here it is the surprise of discovery. The new voice which is instantly recognizable as that rarest of occurrences: the real thing." - lya Kaminsky from the foreword