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CLMP Publishers Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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In the Hall of North American Mammals

ISBN: 9781930781795
Binding: Paperback
Author: Lee Peterson
Pages: 80
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 01/15/2023

Advance praise for In the Hall of North American Mammals:

"The poems of Lee Peterson's In the Hall of North American Mammals explore the haunting, dangerous borders between story and reality, domestic and wild, mother and child. These poems are meditations crafted in the terror of familial love. And they are bold navigations, crossing liminal spaces, using a luminous intensity of voice to map intimacy, mortality. With lyric acuity they sound the seams between worlds, revealing mother as both "witch and protector," the story and its teller, one who must perform on the highwire and pray for feet fastened to the ground. Peterson's deft poems cross a ropewalk of mother-love, knowing what they dare. Hold your breath for their fierce power." —Sally Rosen Kindred, author of Where the Wolf

"A grandmother, the wolf, and a landscape of hills lit by dusk and snow populate Peterson's radiant new collection. Frequently dwelling in the world of fairytale, Peterson trains her lens on mother-love and the sublime act of mothering: 'With one hand I lift you up/with the other I set you down, set you out.' Showcasing Peterson's spare images and Dickinsonian-dash-inflected lines, In the Hall of North American Mammals evokes the fierce and tender tether between mother and child." —Shara McCallum, author of No Ruined Stone

"Jean Valentine describes Lee Peterson's first book, Room and Fields: Dramatic Monologues from the War in Bosnia, as 'compassionate and single-mindedly alive to its high purpose.' Peterson's second full-length collection, In the Hall of North American Mammals, continues with as much heart and intention, though the subject has changed. These poems, spare and intimate, come from "inside of the inside of [Peterson's] voice," speaking to her daughter's place in the natural world, the world in her daughter. Splendid, moving, and enlivened, this book takes me beyond the old models and myths, beyond what I already know, to a place both familiar and strange." —Blas Falconer, author of Forgive the Body This Failure


Lee Peterson is an American poet and educator. Her manuscript, In the Hall of North American Mammals (January, 2023), won the 2021 Cider Press Review Book Award. She is the author of Rooms and Fields: Dramatic Monologues from the War in Bosnia (The Kent State University Press), which won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize. Peterson's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Arts & Letters, Bellingham Review, Faultline, North American Review, Nimrod International, Thrush, The Seattle Review, Salamander, Southern Humanities Review, and Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist in the 2018 River Styx International Poetry Contest. A founding director of the Writing Commons at Penn State Altoona, Peterson also teaches in the college's English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs.


"There is something so aching about those three spare lines which register tenderness and beauty and surprise and loss. Which somehow register an entire life. It is what draws me to that calendar page that also draws me to Lee Peterson's most recent poetry collection, In the Hall of North American Mammals (2023). Many of Peterson's poems reimagine the children's classic, Mirette on the High Wire (1993), and the collection itself walks a high wire, tentatively navigating the space between the mythic and the ordinary. The world of In the Hall of North American Mammals is the world of fairytale, of motherhood, of the Mid-Atlantic. Threats appear everywhere: night terrors, feral landscapes of wolves and witches, the precarious miracle of a child growing up and turning away. Despite its nightmarish aspects, it is also a collection where warmth and fierce love abounds. In the Hall of North American Mammals is imperfect and deeply strange, but for all of that, because of all of that, it is one of the most strikingly brilliant collections that I have recently read. It is a collection that quietly and fully pulls you into another person's life, nudges you to remember all that it means to be alive." - Audrey Gradzewicz