Black Lawrence Press

Girl Paper Stone

From The Road to Mora
 .
To the sky she speaks, I’ve been so unhappy.
Water lifts her. On its woven current, walls
collapse. The sky replies: Tell another story
about bad decisions. Hair streaming, she sings
of slippery places. I am raining she thinks.
Thunder closes the bridge.
  .
*
  .
There’s nothing but a coat she doesn’t wear.
Either too hot or a talisman. Either her weight
or her freedom. When snow falls, she feels it.
And takes three deep breathes before hefting
her coat to the sky; the sky refuses. Tosses it
to the river; the coat returns. Two choices,
really one in the same: white mules gleaming
far ahead, or a coat right here like rain.
  .
*
  .
From a dark well she reaches. Another story:
two monks have arrived at a house of adobe
in sundrenched shirts, with wine.

 

Praise

  • In her luminous book, Laurie Filipelli remakes the constellations of a modern life. Her poems re-draw the lines between the parts of the world, helping us to see there are no divisions between planting a plumbago and watching the passage of hateful legislation, no space between grief for a lost father and the wonder of what he’s told the speaker: “the whale’s veins are so wide we could swim/ to her heart.” By looking so tenderly and incisively at the actual experience of a life, Filipelli makes us see our own differently.

    —Sasha West
  • Flying together, flying apart: in these poems the self is as elastic as a flock of birds cutting across the winter sky. Here, among carousel and cave, where “the bigger you spin, the lighter you fall,” we are invited into the world of mothers and daughters, fathers and grandfathers, a geography whose inhabitants bear steadily forward while always casting a long look back. As our leader advances, in an outstretched hand she presents to us the artifacts of her explorations—mirrors, keys, paper dragons—reminding us all the while to accept the dangers of discovery as well as its myriad blessings. The wisdom within these pages is hard-won and generously offered, the speaker lifting her face skyward no matter the conditions at her feet. “The future is a ballad sung in your name,” Filipelli promises, and we want to—we do—believe her.

    —Laurie Saurborn
  • With Laurie Filipelli’s Girl Paper Stone we revel in a collection of lyric recuperations that simultaneously soothe and trouble, delight and disrupt as they marvel and lament at the fragility, wonder, and hurt of our daily lives, our dream lives, and the underground life of our divinations. These poems reject the immovable and fixed and find meaning in the always transforming torrent that is our doing and un-doing. What a great pleasure to find these poems—all at once in flight, grounded, on fire, and full of heart—elemental, beautiful, and indispensable.

    —Cathy Bowman

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Laurie Filipelli

Laurie Filipelli is the author of Elseplace (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013) and Girl Paper Stone (Black Lawrence Press, 2018). Her essays and poems have appeared at apt magazine, The Rumpus, Salamander, Superstition Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Yaddo fellowship and lives in Austin where she provides coaching and editing services through her business, Mighty Writing.

Filipelli Author page

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