Brunch & Bread Of: A reading in celebration of Bread Of by Gabrielle Joy Lessans
Join us July 3, 2021 at 11 am MST for an online reading in celebration of Gabrielle Joy Lessans' debut book, Bread Of, from Ornithopter Press. This event is free and open to the public. Gabrielle will read alongside friends to commemorate the release of this outstanding text.
[The meeting link will be provided upon registration.]
Ornithopter Press writes:
Gabrielle Joy Lessans’s debut poetry collection Bread Of revisits buried and often mortifying memories of self-mutilation, emotional abuse, drug use, sexual assault, social pressure, and misery as a means of self-excavation. In this way, the autobiographical Bread Of is a multilayered processing of shame that feeds on itself when left untended. The book’s vertical movement can be understood as a quest of sorts, a way of reckoning with and integrating a lost iteration of self. With tenderness and humor, Lessans invites us to share in a return that builds page by page—each centering a text that questions what a poem can be—into an unflinching exploration of what it means to occupy a body that simultaneously falls through and takes up space, a body that carries memory in its tissue, not only of lived experience, but also of an ancient and internal sense of Divinity.
Praise for Bread Of:
“In Gabrielle Lessans’ stunning debut collection, Bread Of, we are transported, or perhaps transmuted, to the burnt orange center of violence—in all its magnificence, arrogance, and grandeur, in all its hushed incisions, in all its insidious and normalized politeness—inflicted on the bodies of women. And this is where we split, where You take our first breath. Bread Of alchemizes this moment of violation, when we rupture into our own lineage of selves: the I of recognition, and the you left in the corner of the spirit, as discarded and shameful waste or observable object, because When an object is observed it becomes denser; as though in affirmation; reality is sure of you. It’s a story so many of us have been forced to reveal, and this aching text doesn’t shy away from the repercussions faced by survivors. Within the tenderness of Lessans’ breathing poetics, we are reminded of the sacredness of our homes, our bodies, no matter what they’ve been forced to endure. We become aware (again) of the fluidness of time and trauma. And, most importantly, that we can always decide how to circulate once more.”
—Shawnie Hamer, author of the stove is off at home (Spuyten Duyvil) & founder of collective.aporia
“Bread Of plunges into the soul’s labyrinth, amongst corners of pills, trick mirrors, and shadow-selves salivating for crumbs, to grapple with the profound and restless tension of a body re/aching to be known. This is a story of a body writhing under the harsh light of other, within the quiet violence of invisibility and its cocoon of false ease, asking: who witnesses the unfolding Self? And through this provocation, emerges a woman who takes the courageous leap to bring the wormhole held open to her own mouth, who dips into the swirled mirage of time to find an interior divinity winking, breaking bread, daring the self— take on the awe of me— and who through tender suturing, allows the open open flesh & bone & mudmess of the world to nourish her infinite unfolding.”
—Marie Conlan, author of Say Mother, Say Hand (Half Mystic)
“Gabrielle Lessans’s Bread Of is a powerful coming-of-age poetic memoir that reveals a self fighting for control over its identity in the throes of empty lust, shame, and gossip born of technology. From the womb of a mattress conformed to a body, to a city where everyone has “the ability to be a little bird,” warm wildness ensues: You open your eyes & the force of your lashes lays / a gust that spins outwards, through / umbral wheatgrass, a gentle / riptide. With the self’s inability to grasp an accepted reality, language fragments and others. Lessans’s phrases, like dinner plate pupils and galactic longitude, illuminate a strangeness that can accompany bodily abyss: a state of deep longing for a haven and for the body to belong. Bread Of, fearless and nonchalantly feminine so effortlessly chill, will leave you breathless.”
—Karolina Zapal, Author of Notes For Mid-Birth (Inside the Castle) and Polalka (Spuyten Duyvil)
You can buy this book at https://www.ornithopterpress.com/store/p13/BREAD_OF.html
Gabrielle Lessans is an experimental poet whose writing orients toward the hearth where deep play & healing most intersect. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, dog & two cats, leading weekly writing workshops, teaching yoga, and co-collaborating with Nocturne School of Lucid Writing and collective.off. She received her BA in Literature from Duke University and her MFA from Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where she worked with the poetics of friendship, trauma and memory. Gabrielle was named a finalist for the Nightboat Poetry Prize in 2017 & 2018 for her collection [a go]. Recent work can be found in Black Sun Lit: Vestiges 4, Inverted Syntax, Dream Pop, Bone Bouquet. This is her first book.