Poems by Chelsea Dingman
Selected by Allison Joseph

A debut collection of gritty yet poignant poems


Thaw announces the beginning of a poetic career readers of poetry will be following for the ages, because Dingman is a poet for the ages. The sheer beauty of her poems, with their tremendous lyric power, will make a believer out of you. Her work takes those difficult moments we experience in silence and in grief and gives them imagistic force so sharp and detailed that we, as readers, are tempted to look away. But we don’t, because this poet’s siren song is one we can’t help but listen to, despite the hard truths on display.”
—Allison Joseph, poet, editor, and author of My Father's Kites: Poems

“In her debut collection, Dingman deftly parallels intimate sorrow with the brutal realities of rural poverty and violence… Dingman sets her scenes well, with the tough rhythms of life coming through, and her excellent work will be appreciated by a range of readers.”
—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“Snow blankets everything in Chelsea Dingman’s debut, a tenderhearted collection about family and grief, pregnancy and loss… In these poignant, finely crafted poems, the past is hard to forget.”
—Ben Purkert, Guernica Magazine

"Anyone seeking the gossipy shadows traumas can cast will be disappointed in Thaw; these poems, like the sky, are choosy about what they’ll let fall from their mysterious hands."
—Amie Whittemore, Southern Indiana Review

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Thaw delves into the issues at the core of a resilient family: kinship, poverty, violence, death, abuse, and grief. The poems follow the speaker, as both mother and daughter, as she travels through harsh and beautiful landscapes in Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Moving through these places, she examines how her surroundings affect her inner landscape; the natural world becomes both a place of refuge and a threat. As these themes unfold, the histories and cold truths of her family and country intertwine and impinge on her, even as she tries to outrun them.

Unflinching and raw, Chelsea Dingman’s poems meander between childhood and adulthood, the experiences of being a mother and a child paralleling one another. Her investigation becomes one of body, self, woman, mother, daughter, sister, and citizen, and of what those roles mean in the contexts of family and country.

“Immortality” from Thaw

Wind hollows the wheat
chaff, howl of a stray
hungering morning. This terrible north
collects pieces you don’t
recognize. Your mother, grey
two-story house, singing
through a distant night, lay down
your sweet head. Outside
the chapel, under a streetlamp,
you draw a picture of God
in the snow, where He isn’t
merely a man, lost
in this human hour, body
weeping in the thaw.

National Poetry Series

Page count: 96
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Chelsea Dingman is a graduate instructor at the University of South Florida.