Finalist for the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award
Constellarium chronicles the author's gender transition from biological male to female and engages the ontological quandaries that arise from this experience. Family history and religious heritage must be reckoned with along the way. In Rice's poems the evolving nature of the self the fluidity of identity and the lasting influence of the past are all held up to the soul's penetrating gaze.
Jordan Rice is co-editor of the anthology Voices of Transgender Parents (Transgress Press 2015). Her poems have been selected for the Indiana Review Poetry Prize by Aimee Nezhukumatathil the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize by Natasha Trethewey the Yellowwood Poetry Prize from Yalobusha Review by Beth Anne Fennelley the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review the Milton-Kessler Memorial Prize from Harpur Palate and an AWP Intro Journals Award. Her poems have also been anthologized in Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume V Best New Poets (2008 & 2011) A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry and Best of the Web 2009. Rice received an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University where she served as Associate Editor for New Issues Poetry & Prose and as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Third Coast.
"[A] real and significant discovery. Constellarium is a book like no other ingenious and wide ranging." - Don Share Chair of the 2017 Kingsley & Kate Tufts Awards Judges Committee editor of Poetry magazine
"Constellarium is a bold announcement of a new poetic voice to be reckoned with. These poems make us stare down shame and celebrate transition celebrate the body inside. Jordan Rice does not flinch from what society would have us try to look away from instead she carefully constructs a book in which we are forced to reckon layer by layer with her being. Let us be thankful that such a voice exists that it is brilliant and shattering and here to take us all on her journey." - Fatimah Asghar
"Jordan Rice's stunning debut a shooting star of a first book if there ever was one may be the most important volume you read this year. Its taut rich language of visceral vulnerability sharply articulates the missing in-between and liminal experiences of consciousness that trans and cis readers alike have never before seen discussed in literature. These poems split open our hearts enlarging the frame of reference and provoking us to reconsider everything about what it means to be a poet a trans woman a trans person. They renew and revive our sense of what it means to be human." - Trace Peterson
"Jordan Rice's Constellarium summons the pleasure and perils of the body the rhetorical and physical damages it can endure. She rescues childhood from memory and makes real again the moments that make or obscure us. Unlike so many contemporary elegies these poems do not chronicle losses with tepid nostalgia they bend time to lead you to griefs at their most unpredictable at the places most poems would look away. Rice's sentences hold more than you thought you could bear. Her masterful control of syntax teaches me what spells already know -- subject object modify modify arrive at the awe that you are knowing too much and refusing sorrow." - Traci Brimhall