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Strange Valentine

Strange Valentine

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A. Loudermilk


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
104 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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About the Book

A. Loudermilk utilizes confessional, persona, and third-person poems throughout this intimate yet socially conscious first collection. Strange Valentine is an indictment of love, fixating on the paranoid relationship between body and state, on the dangerous relationship between family history and sexual history, and on the elusive relationship between gender and sexuality—specifically as experienced in the working-class towns of the southernmost Midwest. Riding highly crafted rhythms in sound, line, and invented form, Loudermilk’s multivoiced storytelling resounds with the characters and heartbreaks of the heartland.


A. Loudermilk is the author of The Daughterliest Son, which won the Swan Scythe Press Chapbook Competition and was published in 2002. A winner of The Chas B. Wood Award for Distinguished Writing from Carolina Quarterly, the Phyllis Smart Young Prize in Poetry, as well as the Cream City Review Poetry Prize, he has published poetry in Tin House, The Louisville Review, The Mississippi Review, Margie, The Redneck Review, and other journals. His essays have been published Journal X, River Teeth, The Journal of Consumer Culture, and the Journal of International Women’s Studies. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.


“Like many first collections concerned with the broad categories body and place, Strange Valentine carries a sense of urgency: these poems had to be written. But unlike many urgent-feeling first books, the language in these poems is playful and interesting. A vernacular sensibility traces back to the locations the poems depict—trailer parks, bedrooms, hospital rooms, church—and there finds the sources of a fierce love. Common as its content and vocabulary may be, these poems are not merely plain-spoken narratives; they tell it straight and slant, they pucker, cuss, pause for a smoke, cut loose, then close down or open up. They come at you like a country song, layered with cockiness, longing, raw sweetness, heartache, and just plain heart. Unafraid to go over the top or to dig deep, they are honest without being too earnest.”—Julia Kasdorf, author of Eve’s Striptease