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Mouth Full of Seeds

Publication Date: January 2020


Listen to Marcela Sulak read from MOUTH FULL OF SEEDS // Watch captioned video on the BLP YouTube Channel


With Mouth Full of Seeds Marcela Sulak writes a hybrid psalm to living, translating traumas and joys, the capaciousness of passion, and the stunning moments that take away the breath. From a divorce document folded into the shape of bird wings to an exposition on light, from Czech fairy tales to the cells in our bodies, she prisms the “cleanliness of laundry” and the “inherent bloodiness and destruction of love.” In a fairy tale, Mouth Full of Seeds would become a “God box,” an invention of Sulak’s daughter, who decrees: “whatever you put inside of it becomes part of God.”

—Amy Newman

Marcela Sulak’s Mouth Full of Seeds is a fierce and tender hybrid memoir that is wholly unique to Sulak’s lived experiences as an academic, single mother, farmer’s daughter, translator, convert to Judaism, native of Texas, and immigrant to Israel. Weaving together lyric essays and poems, Sulak addresses big themes—time, feminism, motherhood, transformation, violence, spirituality, immigration, sense of place, and language itself—while rooting her poems in the corporeal and earthly details of childbirth, divorce, gardening, fairy tales, and even potatoes. “I can love almost anything,” writes Sulak in “Dear Honeysuckled, Dear Fire Department,” and we believe her as she renders the particulars of her worlds with riveting and exacting grace.

—Erika Meitner

“The everything I was before, I am,” writes Marcela Sulak in this gorgeously intimate meditation on borders, botany, fairy tales, womanhood, motherhood and peoplehood. In lines suffused with kitchen wisdom and ancient mysticism, Sulak writes captivatingly about what it means to live at the precise intersection of human and divine, considering a planet which is made anew each day even as it slips through our fingers: “Yesterday I spread a slippery brown cloth over a card table: I wanted to make more land.” Read this beautiful book!

—Alicia Jo Rabins

About the Author

© Daniel Fainberg

Marcela Sulak

Marcela Sulak's fifth title with Black Lawrence Press,  a novella-in-verse, The Fault, is forthcoming in 2024. Her previous four titles include three poetry collections, City of Skypapers, a 2021 finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, Decency, and Immigrant, as well as her lyric memoir, Mouth Full of Seeds. She’s co-edited with Jacqueline Kolosov the 2015 Rose Metal Press title Family Resemblance. An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. Sulak, who translates from the Hebrew, Czech, and French, is a 2019 NEA Translation Fellow, and her fourth book-length translation of poetry: Twenty Girls to Envy Me: Selected Poems of Orit Gidali, was nominated for the 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (University of Texas Press). Her essays have appeared in The Boston Review, The Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Asymptote, and Gulf Coast online, among others. Marcela Sulak directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University. She also edits The Ilanot Review.    

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