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ISBN: 978-1-955239-18-9
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Hot Thicket

Publication Date: February 2022


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Hot Thicket was originally published by Nomadic.

Hot Thicket is a poetic journey through interpersonal and societal wildfires. With the turn of each page, the heat slowly rises as small children cry out against the patriarchy, modern-day colonizers are held in check, and the planet itself is given a platform to voice millennia of abuse and desecration. Within the burning passages, Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem illuminates hidden truths with flames of a different kind, flames lit to incinerate an outmoded culture of ignorance and denial.


Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem’s poems are vessels filled with fiery passion, defiance and revelation – poems that illuminate what we see but cannot know, or know but cannot see. Like the protagonist in the fable who must accomplish a series of impossible tasks, Cassandra succeeds by exposing and deposing the violation of the feminine that permeates our personal and societal mythologies. These poems augur the reclamation and sovereignty of our bodies and of the earth.
Kimi Sugioka, Poet Laureate of Alameda, California

In her debut collection, Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem draws us deep into a thicket of rich words, imagery, and emotion, leading us confidently through joy and pain, experience and revelation. These poems don’t turn from heat and are unafraid to excavate trauma in order to encounter healing and empowerment beneath. As a mother, daughter, lover, and poet, the speaker of these poems is brave and compassionate, offering readers a light in the dark, a path through the dense forest of our human lives.
Amanda Moore, Educator and author of Requeening

Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem’s poetry reveals big truths – her truth – with words that simultaneously capture the past and present to convey her story. The imagery is vivid, full of knowledge, and with a deep realization of life experiences, some processed and some still raw. The way Cassandra weaves words is more than a simple art, it is like seeing aspects of her life through a lens as she lives. Don’t be surprised if this book of poetry sticks with you long after you first read it.
Jerry Cimino, Founder of The Beat Museum

What does it mean to be both orphan and animal? Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem’s Hot Thicket lives at the heart of this question. This book rejects fathers, paternal violence, the havoc wreaked by the state and history, emerging from the ash of countless deaths as a bright moving flame. An inventory of loss, this tenderly imagistic collection renders its grief objects softly even as their teeth are unbearably sharp. I find myself at this book’s end, dreaming of its torn violets and jarred butterflies, and also longing to be liberated.
Muriel Leung, author of Imagine Us, The Swarm

About the Author

Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem

Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem holds a BA from California Institute of Integral Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. Her award-winning poems and creative nonfiction have been published locally and internationally. She is currently in the final stages of editing a book-length lyric essay about generational trauma. Also the illustrator of Basho’s Haiku Journeys, a haiku picture book, Cassandra derives her versatility through prolific creative experimentation and cross-pollination between artistic disciplines and literary forms. Cassandra upholds values of diversity and inclusion and has taught workshops and classes at community centers, high schools, colleges, and universities in Alaska, Hawaii, and California. In 2019, Cassandra led a year-long literary reading series for women and non-binary writers at The Beat Museum in San Francisco. This is her first poetry collection.

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