Catherynne M. Valente: Girl of a Thousand Gardens

Catherynne Valente's work is a marvel worthy of pilgrimage. She's written books of beautiful poetry (the most recent of which is forthcoming from Norilana Books), won awards for her short fiction and her novels, has begun a secret sacred lottery project available by subscription and co-writes a webcomic about Rockband in the spare time she manages to pluck from the smoky aether. Jess once said "she's like really ripe earth," and we figured that was precisely what a Spring Issue ought to have in a feature. She's also taken the time to record herself reading the poems, for which we thank her profusely; you can listen by clicking the blue buttons next to the poems, below.

Valente's poetry takes you aside to tell you stories, murmurs them like secrets and lullabies in foreign languages that sound just familiar enough to catch a word or two while the melody lulls you to dream. They aren't comforting stories by any means, and the dreams partake more of the horn than of the ivory, but they're arresting, hold you in place like a Mariner's gaze and compel you to listen, to carry the tale in you like a seed to plant in someone else. Her poems make us feel like we ought to pass them on from palm to palm, mouth to mouth, like coins and breath and kisses. We pass them on, now, to you.


The Jeweler's Wife
The Girl with Two Skins
Landscape with Girl and Clams
The Ballad of All the Things I Might Have Written

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