Today's poem is "Self-Portrait as a Boy in A Musician Family"
from Big Thicket Blues

Sundress Publications

Natalie Giarratano received her Ph.D. in creative writing from Western Michigan University. She is the author of Leaving Clean (Briery Creek Press, 2013), which won the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Sakura Review, Black Tongue Review, Beltway Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and TYPO, among others. She edits and lives in Northern Colorado with her partner, their daughter, and pup.

Books by Natalie Giarratano:

Other poems on the web by Natalie Giarratano:
"Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery, Caddo Parish"
"The Translations"
Two poems

Natalie Giarratano's Website.

About Big Thicket Blues:

"Giarratano's mature and stirring second book is drenched in Place — East Texas, the Thicket, the Pines the Pines, the bright and dark swelter of it all — immersed in knowing that Place is a deep geography — and that Place is a terrain shaped by histories and memory, an undergrowth of events and beliefs that wound, shame, haunt and sometimes painfully heal — a tangle of family faith and fear — Place is a skin worn beyond horizons and borders — is dragged with us everywhere we go — in these poems place is what is known and what is imagined — origin and destination."
—Mark Turcotte

"Consider yourself warned: this intricately carved, seamlessly patchworked foray into a boiling machinery of heritage, sin and deliverance may haunt itself into your dreams. Big Thicket Blues is so crammed with music, so lucid and tangled, so lifted into sky past bramble and past the tinnitus of our ordinary pains that it delivers us into a brilliance all its own. Make sure you know how to listen to what could kill or cure you before you bring down the needle on Giarratano's indelible groove—and remember: don't trust anyone who cannot allow music /to suck them deep, the way I've always wanted some god to /suck me into that kind of epic darkness..."
—Tyehimba Jess

"Big Thicket Blues is a siren's song. Giarratano understands the bewitching, seductive music of words, and while one reads each poem—poems of social justice, poems of domestic despair—the dangerous truth of them eludes you. Reader, spend time with these poems at your peril because the cutting truth lingers long after the music fades."
—TJ Jarrett

"The poems in Natalie Giarratano's Big Thicket Blues are shape-shifting, with speakers who probe the moments 'when we and they / are so far apart,' terrorized by 'unholy hands / that'd start a war or fill our throats with cement'—whether in Texas, or Terezin. Risk-taking Leadbelly homage, family reportage, and internal-music montage all represent here, to remind us of the many ephemeral bodies we share. And beneath them all, a seething: to 'Light up from the inside so that the place burns."
—Ailish Hopper

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