Holding My Selves Together: New and Selected Poems


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
Cornerstone Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.39 inches | 0.48 pounds
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About the Author

Margaret Rozga, a life-long Wisconsin resident and the Wisconsin Poet Laureate from 2019-2020, lives in Milwaukee. An emeritus professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, she continues to teach a poetry workshop for Continuing Education at what is now the UW-Milwaukee Waukesha campus.


"Ranging broadly and beautifully, Margaret Rozga's new book offers twice as many new poems as old, and holds together not only her poet/activist/gardener selves, but also Alice in Wonderland, the civil rights movement, and our pandemically fraught present. 'Sing solo but invite/chorus, ' she writes. Using a variety of forms and artful repetitions to 'intertwine personal history' with past and present social struggles, Rozga also offers us, 'with a sense that maybe, ' hope."

-Martha Collins

"Rozga's newest collection, Holding My Selves Together, is deliciously dizzying, like a lakeside summer at the peak of day. Fiery, hazy, warm and refuge, these pieces offer a generous scope of Rozga's voice, views and celebrations of the everyday."

-Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Wisconsin Poet Laureate, 2021-2022

"In a time with 'ruin in the forecast, ' the inspiring poems of Margaret Rozga invite us on a search for 'solutions that do not involve dying or killing.' They trace civil rights history, link 'the lunch counters of our minds' to each new challenge, each new call for courage. 'Ask deeper questions, ' they command. 'Risk awe.' The poet does. She fills her poems with 'the power of a soul' to consider ecological disasters, the pandemic, and even the transformations of aging. Through it all, she celebrates beauty small and large. Her 'unsayable prayer' becomes ours: 'let there be justice, freedom, and herbs.'"

-Kimberly Blaeser

author of Copper Yearning

Wisconsin Poet Laureate, 2015-2016

"As Rozga brings us through her life in poems as an activist, she writes: 'History remembers the dream, forgets nightmares, those startled awake, stay awake.' I am confident her readers will understand the courage it requires to stay awake as she offers her hard-earned wisdom through a lifelong commitment to justice. Sorrow, despair, hope, rage, tenacity, faith. It's all here, as it should be-her poetry is an honest grappling with what it takes to fight for a better world."

-Nikki Wallschlaeger

author of Waterbaby

"With a marathon-running, Wonderland-bemused Alice as alter-ego and echoes of Keats in her heart, Margaret Rozga launches readers on a journey that leads from innocence and imagination through the gripping realities of injustice and activism and into the truth and beauty of the present moment. From James Chaney's desecrated memorial and the 'charred and crumbled frame' of the Milwaukee NAACP's Freedom House to backyard garden, yoga studio, grandchildren, or one's neighborhood and porch, Holding My Selves Together gives a multifaceted view of a courageous life lived close to some of the most crucial struggles of our time. Weaving through the various selves of the title and taking nothing at face value, Rozga's necessary 'Poetry of Fact' gives way ultimately to gladness-gracing us with poems that stand as 'morally certain as a psalm' and luminous in their ability to 'risk awe' and 'sense growth . . . rising like the split of a seed/on a slender leaf, against all odds.'"

-Terry Bohnhorst Blackhawk

author of One Less River