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poet

Allison Joseph

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Allison Joseph received a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA from Indiana University–Bloomington.

She is the author of several poetry collections, including Confessions of a Barefaced Woman (Red Hen Press, 2018); Worldly Pleasures (Word Press, 2004); and What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992), winner of the John C. Zacharis First Book Award.

Joseph has received fellowships and awards from the Illinois Arts Council. She teaches at and directs the Southern Illinois University–Carbondale MFA Program in Creative Writing, where she also serves as the editor-in-chief and poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review. She lives in Carbondale, Illinois.


Selected Bibliography

Confessions of a Barefaced Woman (Red Hen Press, 2018)
Worldly Pleasures (Word Press, 2004)
Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon Unviersity Press, 2003)
In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997)
Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997)
What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992)

 

 

by this poet

poem

Oh how I wanted to be a dancer
those Saturday mornings in the
living room, neglecting chores

to gape at the whirling people
on our television: the shapely
and self-knowing brownskinned

women who dared stare straight
at the camera, the men strong,
athletically gifted as they

poem

The fro is homage, shrubbery, and revolt—all at once.
The fro and pick have a co-dependent relationship, so
many strands, snags, such snap and sizzle between
the two. The fro wants to sleep on a silk pillowcase,
abhorring the historical atrocity of cotton.
The fro guffaws at relaxers—how

poem

I remember sitting on his bony lap,
fake beard slumping off his face,
his breath reeking sweetly of alcohol,
a scent I didn't yet know at five.
And I didn't know that Santa
was supposed to be fat, white, merry—
not shaky and thin like this
department store Santa who listened