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Darling Nova
Melissa Cundieff-Pexa

Publication date: March 8, 2018



Autumn House
2018 • 72 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - Women Authors / Poetry - Love

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-938769-30-6



Winner of the 2017 Autumn House Poetry Contest, selected by Alberto Ríos

“This collection of compellingly constructed narratives make new connections, new sparks, new thought as often as line to line. The poems are patient but not slow, engaging in constantly evocative language, however quiet they may at first appear. The language, finally, is quite simply alive and the collective thinking in this book is the stuff of the body’s own connective tissue. The voyage through these poems encompasses much—grief, love, humanness—but the narrative, the speaker, the events keep moving, so that we ourselves are moved.”— Alberto Ríos

Reviews / Endorsements



“This collection of compellingly constructed narratives make new connections, new sparks, new thought as often as line to line. The poems are patient but not slow, engaging in constantly evocative language, however quiet they may at first appear. The language, finally, is quite simply alive and the collective thinking in this book is the stuff of the body’s own connective tissue. The voyage through these poems encompasses much—grief, love, humanness—but the narrative, the speaker, the events keep moving, so that we ourselves are moved.”—Alberto Ríos

"Melissa Cundieff’s deeply satisfying debut Darling Nova reminds us that living and loving requires us to be circadian with how we treat memory—it is every day that we must forget to remember, and we must remember to forget. These poems are alive with tenderness, temperance, and a tempestuous willingness to engage and render what is both vivid as well as invisible. “I wrote this today:” she writes, reminding us that it is both before and after the pause that the world begins." —Tarfia Faizullah

"In her new book Darling Nova, Melissa Cundieff plumbs the creative depths of the traumatized psyche to honor and lament, by equal measure, its summons to the past. Out of the cigarette smoke of human speech come the poet’s words: “Reminiscence is an augury / backwards, a slow bullet returning to us, now.” So vigorous the visionary hunger here, so hopeful and tragic the signature of testament and rebellion, it knows: the legacy of loss is neither forsaken nor immune from the forces of ruin and estrangement that are the pretext of renewal. Out of a wound we were born and so are born again. Such is the embodied wisdom here, the abiding vulnerability, courage, and compassion that figuration and reflection make possible, painful, luminous, sacramental; one part discovered, another forged. To go this deeply inward is to voice an aloneness that is ever searching and never alone. A truly dazzling book."—Bruce Bond

Awards/Recognition:

Winner of the Autumn House Poetry Contest, selected by Alberto Rios (2017)


MELISSA CUNDIEFF-PEXA received an MFA in poetry from Vanderbilt University, where she was the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in places such as Best of the Net, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter, Four Way Review, TriQuarterly, The Adroit Journal, and Tongue: A Journal of Writing and Art. She has published a chapbook, Futures With Your Ghost. Originally from Texas, she lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.



Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:02:06 -0500