Light Is the Odalisque by LaWanda Walters


Light Is the Odalisque by LaWanda Walters


ISBN 978-1-941209-39-4

9 x 6 paperback, 122 pages

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Praise for Light Is the Odalisque

From the opening poem of LaWanda Walters' Light Is the Odalisque, one is caught in the hands of an expert story-teller, and held up by the singing of a poet. Some of the poems are formally beautiful, others gorgeously free, but all are clear-eyed, deep, sassy, sexy, compassionate and vibrantly alive. Reading this book is a pleasure I know I'll return to again and again. Its roots are Southern as wild honey and as surpassingly sweet. 

—Liz Rosenberg, poet, and author of The Moonlight Palace

For over three decades, LaWanda Walters’ poems have seen the light only in the pages of the country’s most prestigious literary journals; this is her first book. Whatever the reasons a brilliant writer’s work fails to find a publisher, it is an occasion for excitement (and much astonishment) when it does. The poems I read for years in magazines come full into their glory when set in their rightful context. This is mature, eye-opening work, meticulous and exhilarating, that only a writer at the height of her powers can give us. 

—James Cummins, author of Still Some Cake

This wide-ranging, beautiful, and painful book reveals LaWanda Walters as a masterful, brave, and dangerous poet. As much at home with a disciplined free verse as with traditional forms, and as comfortable with narrative as with lyric, Walters delivers (like the morning mail, like a baby) a world. The odalisque is light—meaning not heavy, meaning luminous. “How odd,” we discover, “that a direction—like South—takes on meaning like a person’s face.” The poems are (or appear to be) autobiographical in the best sense. “I searched myself,” Heraclitus declared, and Walters’s book, written in that spirit, stokes the Heraclitean fire with embers from a burning heart. 

—T.R. Hummer, author of Skandalon: Poems


About the Author

LaWanda Walters grew up in Mississippi and North Carolina. She earned her B.A. at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, an M.A. in Literature from California State University at Humboldt, and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Indiana University, where she won the Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Cincinnati Review, Cutthroat, The Georgia Review, The Laurel Review, North American Review, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, and Sou’wester. Her poem “Marilyn Monroe” appears in Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century (Dartmouth College Press, 2014), and “Goodness in Mississippi” was chosen by Sherman Alexie for Best American Poetry 2015. She is the mother of two grown children, Tess Despres Weinberg and Sean Jason Weinberg, and lives with her husband, John Drury, in Cincinnati.