by Joani Reese
Joani Reese is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Final Notes and Dead Letters. Night Chorus is her first full length collection. Reese’s poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and featured in both print and online venues. Reese has been poetry editor for THIS Magazine and senior poetry editor for Connotation Press—An Online Artifact and was fiction guest editor for Scissors and Spackle in 2013 & 2014. Reese is currently Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine MadHat Lit, the quarterly online presence of MadHat Publishing. Reese won the first Patricia McFarland Memorial Prize for her flash fiction and The Graduate School Creative Writing Award from The University of Memphis for her poetry, where she earned her MFA. Reese won the 15th Glass Woman Prize in 2014 for her flash fiction and currently lives in Texas with six fine cats and three lovely men.
What I love about Joani Reese’s first full collection, Night Chorus, is how well it moves and weaves through all spaces and contains fearless characters and language. Reese writes like she's lit a typewriter on fire and only the truth will put it out. The poems in Night Chorus make me understand again why I feel so drawn to modern poetry. I thank Joani for writing this great book and for letting me read and savor it early. I appreciate the hell out of that.
—Bud Smith, author of the poetry collection Everything Neon and the novels Tollbooth and F250
Joani Reese’s Night Chorus is a symphony of “ferocious love” and longing “tied with gut.” This powerful mélange of poems is wide-ranging in form and subject matter, imagery and sound, “a vibrating string (that) snaps to startle the ear” and the heart. I am taken with the courageous voice of this poet as she “teeters, naked on the cliff edge, wild sky black. Arms spread, she dives through the terrible rain.” And, I follow her, as charmed by her sexy blues rhythms as I am by her keenings of grief as I am by the maturity of her craft. This is one book of deep songs that you will need to buy for all of your friends.
—Pamela Uschuk, author Crazy Love, American Book Award,
and Blood Flower
Joani Reese is a poetry blues angel. Think of Bonnie Raitt with steel strings. Think of an embodied muse who confronts danger and loss with heart, with the kind of music that makes us forget misery for the space of art. In Night Chorus, our poet wails artfully, in a disciplined and courageous manner that repairs our sense of loss. When we ask ourselves who are the living poets with vision large enough to sing not just the self, but the fragile planet, and especially the most vulnerable women upon it––we look to Joy Harjo, Brenda Hillman, Pamela Uschuk, Fady Joudah, Marilyn Hacker, and now, to Joani Reese.
––Marilyn Kallet, Director, Creative Writing Program, University of Tennessee,
author of sixteen books, including The Love That Moves Me, Black Widow Press.