I Built a Boat with All the Towels in Your Closet (and Will Let You Drown)


Product Details

$18.95  $17.62
Red Hen Press
Publish Date
6.9 X 8.3 X 0.4 inches | 0.45 pounds
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About the Author

Leia Penina Wilson is an MFA candidate in prose at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. When she's not reading or writing, she spends her time baking tiny cakes and cookies. When she's not baking, she plays Magic: The Gathering and cuddles with her boyfriend on the couch. She is the nonfiction editor for The Black Warrior Review. Her work can be found in, or is forthcoming from, Diagram, Alice Blue Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Chariton Review, NAP, and others. She is originally from St. Joseph, Missouri. Her first book, i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown), won the A Room of Her Own Foundation's To the Lighthouse Poetry Publication Prize, selected by Evie Shockley.


"I was mesmerized by the wild lyricism, quiet wit, and fearless curiosity of these poems. I feel lucky to have encountered them and am delighted to recognize them with the To the Lighthouse Prize."
--Evie Shockley

"Leia Wilson thoughtfully assembles a world, then dissembles it, so that we might see its brilliant underside. She illuminates the hidden spaces of memory and the body, uncovers fossils in time and language, looks to the faraway for answers. Stars, seasons, cities, birds, the spoken and unspoken are all stitched and unstitched, hinged and then unhinged. Wilson beautifully takes everything apart and gives us the burning, shimmering cores of things."
--Jenny Boully

"Perhaps only those poets capable of being riddled by desire can create poems so revelatory of Desire's Riddle. Leia Penina Wilson's debut collection offers itself as primer in desire's difficulties, not a textbook with the answer key in back, but poems that suffer the intricate mystifications of their own inquiry. Wilson shows how wanting works in harm and harmony both, how intimacy creates oddity, how love makes self and other strange at the very point of naked familiarity. Imagination moves through the mind as longing does through the body, insisting the real is a place only to be arrived at, insisting a change must occur, promising the self is never merely the self-same. In nearly Ovidian ways, Wilson charts a nearly unnavigable terrain: how desire not only pushes through the body, but pushes the body into other forms. Here, Imagination is always taking hold, and it takes hold by metamorphosis, by confusing ontology with the inability to decipher the difference between being and pretending-to-be. Wilson seeks her animal self. Part of that animal universe is the vague realm in which pray becomes prey, and the fear of being consumed by what one is most within (the world) finds its only compensation in what that fear also makes available: the recognition that one is here in what is (the world). Such depictions of our damaged dwelling mark for her lucky readers the arrival of a new and needed voice."
--Dan Beachy-Quick