South of Here
“Lydia Melvin writes with the wildness that only truth knows—without fear—poetry that digs and digs hard into everything that ever was. Here, words have a way of exploding to discover new territories about childhood and adolescence. This is because Lydia knows that a poem is not a poem unless it discovers the poet’s inside, unless it discovers the possibilities inside itself, something that this book does over and over. In these poems, history stands at a cross-limb, where Lydia tells us that ‘my mother enters the world on an eggshell-white / kitchen floor’ and where ‘the earth pauses / to take notice, decides finally it will love my mother / two-and-a-half minutes more than the rest of the world.’ For Lydia, poetry is about everything—love, family, hate, the forbidden—everything. This book gives a new voice to poetry with the wildness of fire, with the wildness that only words can know.”
—Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, author of Becoming Ebony
“In this work there is desire and a relentless persistence to right what’s wrong, to demand responsibility for injustices small and large. Lydia Melvin describes a world where experience is ephemeral but its effects everlasting, where ‘what weighs / the heart down resides there’; a place where imperfections are plentiful and one person’s fear is potentially all of ours. This work takes on our hardest issues with the utmost honesty; the poems themselves feel lived in and through. This book is brave and truly necessary.”
—Jennifer Firestone, author of the chapbook snapshot, Sona Books
Metta Sáma (Lydia Melvin) received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Western Michigan University and her Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in creative writing at SUNY – Binghamton. Her poems have appeared in Cream City Review,Diner, Crab Orchard, Shade,Paterson Literary Review, Prairie Schooner and Verse, among others. She is a former Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and teaches in the English Department at DePauw University.