Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Jenny Sadre-Orafai
Paper, Cotton, Leather
by Jenny Sadre-Orafai

A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection

8 x 5.25 inches, 80 pages

ISBN 978-1-941209-10-3

Praise for Paper, Cotton, Leather

Eloquent, wistful, and inventive, Jenny Sadre-Orafai's first book proves “everywhere is an atlas.” She enlarges moments of wonderment and sadness into poems that map radiant intimacies and flickering bonds. Her vivid and exact phrasing streamlines lines, amplifies sonic pleasures. Syllables tick forward beautifully: “Gutting this love, I listen for the grind/ still.” Paper, Cotton, Leather is an exhilarating and moving debut.

Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning

Haunting as a fever dream, this debut collection from Jenny Sadre-Orafai is at once tender and bold, vulnerable and unflinching. Paper, Cotton, Leather, an intimate look at a relationship unraveled, marries immaculate craftsmanship and tensile language to create poems that vibrate with their urgency. The brevity of Sadre-Orafai's poems belies an elegant narrative arc that is compelling in its universality and heartbreaking in its honesty. 

Kelly Davio, author of Burn This House

Beginnings are scary, first steps or first steps away, but it is that foundational and fundamental energy which infuses the poems in this book, causes them to glow at the seams. Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s poetry, each line of it, creates a fragile and halting world. Her poems are so painful and playful, so fractured and effervescent, that I completely forget to be terrified about life’s beginnings and endings.

Nate Pritts, author of Right Now More Than Ever

The specter of divorce haunts Sadre-Orafai’s debut, although Paper, Cotton, Leather is much more than a lyrical response to loss. Paper, Cotton, Leather is an instruction manual for the amateur anthropologist, the domestic ghost-hunter, and the doomsday prepper. In “Retract or Recant,” Sadre-Orafai writes: "I was taught curve into the slide/when spinning on frozen road.” This is exactly what Paper, Cotton, Leather can teach us: how to navigate the heart’s switchbacks, how to survive a spin-out on its loneliest back roads.

Shelley Puhak, author of Guinevere in Baltimore

Meet Cover Artist Matt Kayden
Cover artist Matt Kayden studied Graphic Arts, Photography as Art, Theatre Arts, and Visual Communications at Occidental College, Los Angeles. After graduation he worked freelance in California and Hawaii. Professionally, Matthew has worked in the entertainment industry, sales, and real estate. Of his process, Matthew says, “My interest in Photography as Art rekindled with iphonography. My work is a photographic interpretation of the unique light and beauty of the California desert, the ever-changing atmospheres manipulated with apps. The same space appears dramatically different during the four seasons. I attempt to capture this, and then enhance the photo to express an interpretation of that change.”  

Recent Exhibitions include the La Quinta Museum, California "Creativity in the Cove." His work "Parking Lot" was selected to the final short list 50, LUMEN PRIZE EXHIBITION 2012 that traveled a worldwide exhibition of digital art. 
Prints of Matt’s work can be purchased at See more of his iphotography at Matt Kayden/  and
Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of four poetry chapbooks—Weed Over Flower (Finishing Line Press), What Her Hair Says About Her (H_NGM_N Books), Dressing the Throat Plate (Finishing Line Press), and Avoid Disaster (Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared in H_NGM_N, Gargoyle, Rhino, Redivider, PANK, Mount Hope, Sixth Finch, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and other journals. Her creative nonfiction has been published in The Los Angeles Review, South Loop Review, and The Rumpus. She co-founded and co-edits the literary journal Josephine Quarterly. She lives in Atlanta and is an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.

"Paper, Cotton, Leather are poems that speak to the calm after the storm—the electricity lingering in the air with each word, the intensity still a holding memory." — Peter Mason, Online Sundries (Read the entire review)
Failed Bearings

One weekend morning I mark 
our woods with a trail while 
you’re steeping in the shower. 

The trail flails and is a comet,
a centipede curled into his death. 
The symmetry is a hive.

As you dry off, I tell you: leave 
behind the compass, the barometer, 
the metal detector. Figure it out on your own.

I guide you to the trail’s mouth
and fire the emergency kit flare gun.
We needed the dramatic beginning.

My distress signal is a traitor,
listens to itself, pings out, diving 
to bury itself in a stack of leaves.

Tapping a fingernail on my father’s 
stopwatch hanging from my neck, 
I ache for your failure. I refuse you clues.

I await your unsafe return. Without 
breakfast, I imagine you hungry and weak. 
I believe you’ll eat my patient display.