OUR LADY OF THE FLOOD by Alison Pelegrin
About the Author
Alison Pelegrin is the author of four previous poetry collections, including Big Muddy River of Stars, which won the 2006 Akron Poetry Prize, Hurricane Party (U. Akron 2011), and Waterlines (LSU Press 2016). The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Cincinnati Review, and Image. She teaches poetry and creative writing at Southeastern Louisiana University.
This collection vibrates with candor and concern—forging a kinetic blaze into an emotional and physical terrain newly devastated by hurricane. But oh, what gorgeous life and sass teems in these poems! Whether she writes of the exquisite delight of eating “a foam of jeweled fruits” or the horrors of ”...unzipped bodies, emptied and stacked by size,” Pelegrin's writing is simply incandescent.
Our Lady of the Flood sets before its altars all the rapturous junk and glorious miscellany of a world both rooted in tradition and constantly in flux. Alison Pelegrin dazzles us, once again, with a richness of experience that makes us hunger “for fig cookies, glossy loaves of bread, and for ambrosia, / confection snubbed by food snobs / as a poor folks food,” and introduces us to Our Lady of the Flood herself, asking, “Lady, is that you, with a citronella halo, / ghosting the mud-milk waters / with a laundry basket of kittens in one arm?” The divine and the ordinary intersect and intertwine throughout this collection, while a steady, spirited voice shows us “a tangle of bridges,” or “the ghost of wind lurching through kudzu leaves,” and “the movement of a horse minus the horse itself.” Readers, prepare to be astonished and transformed. Alison Pelegrin’s Our Lady of the Flood is the answer to our prayers.
About the Collection
With poems that are in turn meditative, humorous, and blunt, Our Lady of the Flood lingers in the sweet spot between ruin and rebirth. Featuring fairy tale Madonnas, feast days, laments, and botched tattoos, to read these poems is to be infected with the sort of reckless wonder Pelegrin so often sings about.
- "Broadsides to Books: Alison Pelegrin’s Love Song to Louisiana, Hurricanes and All." Kali Lightfoot. Broadsided Press.
- "Our Lady of Last Words, To the Recruitment Office of the West St. Tammany Parish KKK, Our Lady on the Half Shell, A Litany of Bridges, & Feast of the Makeshift Banquets." The Sundress Blog: The Wardrobe's Best Dressed. ed. Natalie Giarratano. 18-22 February 2019.
Awards & Honors
- 2019 Eric Hoffer Award Winner: Chapbook Category
- 2019 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize: Shortlist
- 2017 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest for Our Lady of the Flood
- 2006 Akron Poetry Prize for Big Muddy River of Stars
- The Louisiana Division of the Arts fellowship recipient
- National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient