How to Know the Flowers
How to Know the Flowers by Jessica Smith is a poetry collection about processes: The process of naturally dyeing flowers, the process of dealing with trauma, the process of remembering. In her poems, Smith examines sexual harassment, female friendship, and grief, accepting the gaps and fragments that unavoidably occur while doing such work.
PRAISE FOR HOW TO KNOW THE FLOWERS
And here is the landscape of trauma petaled with knowing and unknowing, the delicate architecture between what rises to the surface and what keeps beneath the soil. The poems’ handling of sexual abuse is the taproot from which springs an invulnerability as they navigate from: “heal this loss please” to “I didn’t want to know / my failure.” Smith accurately draws the line between the threat to safety across borders of home, work, and country; and how these are not only interconnected but also quietly eroding at a rapid pace. Smith’s poems scatter across the page leaning into the dream work tapestry of: “I teach myself new things / to get to a new self” and this is how grief shapes us. How to Know the Flowers is the language of survive.
—Megan Burns, author of Basic Programming
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Smith, Founding Editor of Foursquare and name magazines and Coven Press, teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and curates the Treehouse Reading Series at Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest. She received her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature: Language Theory, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and M.L.S. from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program; she is now pursuing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Miami University (OH). She is the author of numerous chapbooks including Trauma Mouth (Dusie 2015) and The Lover is Absent (above/ground press, 2017), and two full-length books of poetry, Organic Furniture Cellar (Outside Voices 2006) and Life-List (Chax Press 2015).
Jessica Smith’s website: jessicassmith.myportfolio.com
Cover image by Jessica Smith