In one of the poems of this aptly titled Seven Skirts poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni, I come across a beautiful word: handwork. It applies to the domestic work of women, from birthing and mothering children to sewing and mending clothes and offering solidarity to each other. It also relates to the work of stitching, through language, a life back together again after rupture. One of the narrative threads has to do with a story of divorce and custody, but it is worn lightly in this collection. The poems that stand out more brightly against this backdrop are those that celebrate women breaking silence after abuse, reclaiming their history, helping each other, learning to let go. The speaker in these poems considers how in the delicate balance of things, it is often the banal and mundane that rescue us: the ordinary ritual of making breakfast, learning to inhabit the space behind the "rented window / ...to amaze at grace, again."
Luisa A. Igloria, author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (2020), Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia 2020-22
In this powerful debut collection, Jacki Rigoni navigates the topic of domestic violence with honesty and bravery. Survival, mending, and how "we bend again toward light," compels these profound poems that emerge from "a marriage decomposed / with the oak leaves." What is balm for such loss and disillusionment? Children, mothers, gardenias, and the speaker's own will of a salmon who moves "herself upstream against every force." Ultimately, Seven Skirts is a collection rooted in healing. This is a necessary and stunning book.
Tayve Neese, author of Blood to Fruit, Co-founder of Trio House Press
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jacki Rigoni lives with her three children in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she serves as Poet Laureate of Belmont, California. She has a master's degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a credentialed teacher. A finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, her poems appear in Nimrod International Journal, Moon City Review, anthologies, and permanent public art installations. Jacki writes on her site WomanUprising.com and facilitates courses for women at WomanU.com.