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ISBN: 978-1-937854-29-4
Categories Poetry

Rigger Death & Hoist Another

Publication Date: August 2013


Rife with guns, tattoos, booze, wounds, and lost teeth, these explosive narrative lyrics imagine what it means to try and fail and still go on.


“Reading Laura McCullough’s new book I feel the way I once felt after seeing Scorcese’s Mean Streets for the first time-like someone had taken the bits and pieces of my life and made them whole for a moment, a besieged glamour cast like a spell over barroom and bedroom and kitchen alike. And I do mean glamour. Grainy, sweaty, sly, pissed-off, sweet-smelling, headstrong, sad-eyed, immensely loyal glamour.”

-David Rivard

Ultimately, language is the cathedral in McCullough’s work, and that, too, falls under the speaker’s scrutiny via the interrogation of the line. Still, this collection offers “pleasures we can steal along the way” and, near the end, a great call to be alive in our own time, as well as a tenderness for those who live beside us.”

-Brian Turner

‘We all want to look lovely in the end,/or at least used up,/like we took the ride as far as it would go,/got out, and jumped’, McCullough writes, and that’s exactly what these poems full of tattoos and sex and war and longing do. They jump, they fly across the page as they reveal a mind that questions and reveres in equal measure.”

-Bob Hicok

These poems invite you to behold a world, and invite you to bare witness to a writer who understands how hard it is ‘…to recover from a week of living/ above water.’ There is a howling in these poems, as the writer stares unflinchingly at the world that usually exists outside of poetry and does something far more audacious than testify. She sings.”

-R. Dwayne Betts

About the Author

© Emory Broek

Laura McCullough

Laura McCullough’s newest book of poems is Women & Other Hostages (Black Lawrence Press, 2021). Her previous books from Black Lawrence Press are Jersey MercyRigger Death & Hoist Another, and Speech Acts. Her other books include The Wild Night Dress, selected by Billy Collins for the Miller Williams Poetry Series (University of Arkansas Press, 2017), Panic (winner of the Kinereth Kensler Award, Alice James Books, 2009), and What Men Want (XOXOX Press). She is the editor of two anthologies, A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race (University of Georgia Press) and The Room and the World: Essays on Stephen Dunn (Syracuse University Press). Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, Guernica, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Pank, Hotel America, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals and magazines. She has had scholarships or fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Arts, and has been a Dodge Poetry Festival poet, a Florida Writers Circuit poet, and a Decatur Book Festival poet. She has had three NJ State Arts Council Fellowships, two in poetry and one in prose. She received her MFA from Goddard College and teaches full time at Brookdale Community College in NJ where she founded the Creative Writing Program and is on the faculty of the Sierra Nevada low-res MFA and has taught for Ramapo College and Stockton University. Visit her at www.lauramccullough.org

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