Paula Cisewski's second poetry collection, Ghost Fargo, was selected by Franz Wright for the Nightboat Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Upon Arrival (Black Ocean), of the chapbooks How Birds Work and Two Museums, and the co-author, with Mathias Svalina, of Or Else What Asked the Flame.
Paula is, along with her husband Jack Walsh, a cofounder of JoyFace Poetry & Arts Collective. A teacher and a Jerome Grant recipient, Paula worked in warehouses, was an artist mentor with Minneapolis teens, owned a coffee shop, and waited one million tables while raising her son and earning her BA from St. Catherine's University and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Paula Cisewski loves language. Language and metaphor in the face of human heartbreak and desire. 'I am now prepared / to feel my way down the dark sides…' she writes, 'And still, we flew.' Language and metaphor in the face of loneliness and sorrow. 'A trainwreck,' she writes, 'that for eternity never / happens is perfect because / the brakes fail and fail and / still it smokes down / tracks that run through / a small town in me.' Such a refreshing, distinctive first book of poems.
The verbal search for unknown finality is in these poems, the odd little bird who cocks her head to the side while singing to herself is in these poems, and the sound of circulating blood, and all manner of edgy fragile other things that make the reader feel lucky–for listening is inherently lucky, and these poems bear that gift.
[Upon Arrival] opens with 'All the Way Home' a brilliant, pioneering piece suited for the beginning of the book because it suggests the collection’s underlying purpose as a poetical expedition and gives a colorful glimpse of the poet. Cisewski introduces herself as a feisty and bright writer who embraces her flaws as elements of a jaded perfection…