#TPQ5: PAOLA FERRANTE

Garments Against Women – Anne Boyer

This book literally changed my life as a poet, and was definitely the inspiration for my own prose poems. In it, Anne Boyer does things with prose poetry I never knew could happen before, integrating science and philosophy to explore themes related to capitalism and patriarchy.

Sit How You Want – Robin Richardson

This collection takes a raw, unsympathetic look at power and sex and the powerlessness many women are made to feel. Richardson’s line breaks, with their duality of meaning, are breathtaking, like in the poem “GO BY CONTRARIES:” “I think about our plane crash, how beautiful/ he is in spark and open sky.”

Precious Energy – Shannon Bramer

In Bramer’s collection she talks about motherhood and domesticity with a rare kind of honesty, her tone ranging deftly between being genuinely funny, and genuinely sad. Her first poem in the collection, “White Paper Birds,” is probably one of the most haunting poems I’ve ever read about just how hard motherhood actually is.

Her Body and Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado

Because I write both poetry and fiction, I had to put a few collections of short fiction on the list. I think this book revolutionizes what a literary short story can be, playing with the tropes of genre fiction including horror, science fiction, and even nods to erotica, beautifully taking apart the short story form to express female desire.

Zolitude – Paige Cooper

The stories in this collection are about loneliness and love, but against the backdrop of women inventing time machines because they will never meet a lover, or couples sent to terraform a space colony, or a tropical resort where tourists come to ride dinosaurs. The stories are so inventive, they make you feel as though you have never read a love story before.


Paola Ferrante’s debut poetry collection, What to Wear When Surviving A Lion Attack, was published Spring 2019 by Mansfield Press. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Puritan, The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead, CV2, Room, Joyland and elsewhere. She won Room’s 2018 prize for Fiction, The New Quarterly’s 2019 Peter Hinchcliffe Award, and her poetry was nominated for The Best of the Net. She is the Poetry Editor at Minola Review and resides in Toronto, Canada.

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