Mustard, Milk, and Gin


Product Details

$16.00  $14.72
Hub City Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.4 X 8.8 inches | 0.3 pounds
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About the Author

Megan Denton Ray received her MFA from Purdue University, where she was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her work has appeared recently or will soon in Poetry, The Sun, Salt Hill Journal, The Adroit Journal, Passages North, and elsewhere. She currently lives and teaches in Tennessee.


"Mustard, Milk, & Gin belongs to the poetic genre of Southern feminist noir, running perhaps from Judy Jordan down through Carolyn Hembree and Melissa Range. What distinguishes Megan Ray's lyric gift is her eye for the perfect telling detail, "My grease" (after a shower) that "calls out I am, I am, I am, " or the claim (later in the same poem) that "Here, / God holds his candle to my candle, a leopard-print votive / with the fizz of a damp rocket." These are ecstatic poems, not poems that proceed from ecstatic experience, rather poems that conjure their own difficult, often violently flawed ecstasies through the power of language and voice." -G.C. Waldrep, author of Feast Gently and 2019 contest judge

"The poems in Megan Denton Ray's gorgeous debut Mustard, Milk, & Gin bear witness to the natural and unnatural worlds with kind translucence: to swirling bees and begonias, to lost mothers and their jewelry, to the earth and the things we carefully take from it. It's almost impossible to hold the divine and the earthly in the same hand, but these poems do so, balancing the need to sing with the need to wonder inside of their lyric murmurations. All the while these delicate poems make a litany out of the world around us, bringing our hearts and ears into the terrestrial rustlings." --Adrian Matejka, author of Map to the Stars

"Surviving "the splinters of [her] crib," the near-starvation of an "orphaned" girlhood marked by parental addiction, the speaker of these poems declares, "I'm hungry," and proceeds to feed herself, taking the biblical injunction to "taste and see" seriously. To read Megan Denton Ray's debut is to feast with all the senses; in her hands, memories--even painful ones--burst with metaphor, each poem lush with colors, sounds, flora, and flavors. Raw okra, lemon curd, milk, piles of plums, egg yolks, macaroni and cheese in jadeite bowls--the speaker looks upon her body's desires for these and other things and finds them good, asking, "Is my hunger not made by God?" Persisting past trauma into joy, Ray takes the world on her tongue and crafts a theology of resurrection from a shattered Eden." --Melissa Range, author of Scriptorium