Amy Lemmon is the author of the poetry collections Fine Motor (Sow’s Ear Poetry Press 2008) and Saint Nobody (Red Hen 2009). Her poems and essays have appeared in Rolling Stone, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, Verse, Barrow Street, Court Green, the Journal, Marginalia, and many other magazines and anthologies. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has contributed articles to the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry and the Facts on File Companion to Twentieth-Century British Poetry. ABBA: The Poems, a chapbook Amy wrote collaboratively with Denise Duhamel, is forthcoming from Coconut Books, and selections appear in several literary magazines and online at Lafovea.org.
Amy holds a PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati and is the recipient of scholarships from the Vermont Studio Center, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, West Chester Poetry Conference, and Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Awards include the Elliston Poetry Prize, the Ruth Cable Poetry Prize, and the Ruskin Art Club Poetry Prize. An associate professor and assistant chair of the English and Speech Department at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, she lives in Astoria, Queens, with her two children. Visit her blog, Saint Nobody.
Publication Date: February 15, 2009
Amy Lemmon’s stunning and heart-wrenching debut, Saint Nobody, offers us a profound meditation on the body, on the tribulations and the hard-found joys of incarnation. Lemmon does not shy away from a world where “vestigial angel-parts ache to emerge” and where there doesn’t appear to be a “speck of God.” This piercing meditation takes the problem of the body, and the problem of the body in a world that often seems God-less, head-on, without flinching, and yet delivers us truths and beauty we would never have imagined. Lemmon knows that we can’t count on the intercession of an absent saint, and she refuses easy solace. Instead, she probes deeply into the pain, into the conflicting emotions of childbirth, into the birth of a child with Down Syndrome—which is probably the most extraordinary poem written on that subject—to understand the life of our body here, the body in which “pain is sharpest where my wings would be.” This is a world of urine samples, “errant” chromosomes, lost kisses, first bleedings, chaotic cells, and scars, where the blood seems ours alone, and where the words are the only bread we have that may deliver us. In the bread of her words, Lemmon has given us a profound sacrament.