Chouteau’s Chalk

Poems by Rosa Lane
Selected by Magdalena Zurawski

Poetry that reveals the truths present in corporeal (dis)placement


“The lush sounds of the poems in Rosa Lane’s Chouteau’s Chalk make even the silent reader’s ears prick up. Her words wind us feverishly through landscapes of initiation, those early erotic encounters so impressed upon our being that we can only look back and say ‘hello, me.’ The spaces here are sometimes wounding, ‘outlined in neon, a noble gas, atomic, orange,’ or ‘a blur, a fallen entity / inside the house,’ but like all freedom songs, they map the road taken. Here that road is queerly, wildly, sweetly taken, ‘zipping us all the way down the beck.’”
—Magdalena Zurawski, author of The Bruise

"In Chouteau's Chalk, Rosa Lane becomes a lionhearted singer of the erotic: as life force, as madness, as mentor, as inventor. Here the body speaks its truth, even as it is fragmented and mocked by commerce, billboard glitter, the cynical commodification of the body. Lane's technical mastery serves the fierce music of these poems, which, like desire itself, did bring me to my knees."
—Dawn McGuire, author of American Dream with Exit Wound

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In Chouteau’s Chalk, Rosa Lane’s poems take a deep dive into the emotional and the erotic. Gender bent, her poems reside amid a tomboy’s emerging sexual identity within a world confined by heterosexual construction and its persistent mores. Her collection piques a countermythos that unfolds within a small fishing village opening a forbidden and hidden world with sensorial intensity and lyrical momentum.

An epigraph from Audre Lorde’s notable work The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power hovers over every poem from birth through marriage, traversing calamities and holograms of desire, giving the “I” permission to assume full agency with power and dignity in a manner that is as acute as revelatory.

Excerpt from "CORVUS"

The ditch took off in a brume
ripping the snowfield wide open, one black dot
left dragging her wing
unraveling snow. I was her pupil blinking
inside a dark amber circlet, black feathers
iridescent blue slicked her head back.

Georgia Poetry Prize

A Bruce and Georgia McEver Fund for the Arts and Environment Publication

Page count: 96 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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ROSA LANE is the author of Tiller North and Roots and Reckonings. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Cutthroat, Folio, New South, Nimrod, Ploughshares, RHINO Poetry, the Tishman Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. As a poet and architect, she splits her time between coastal Maine and the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her wife.