Welcome back, Lindsay Illich!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired over the past twelve months. These manuscripts came to us through our open reading periods. Today we bring you Lindsay Illich, whose forthcoming book Earthwhere will be published next summer. This will be Lindsay’s second book with Black Lawrence Press.

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our June Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies), anthology proposals, and translations from German. 


The Author

Lindsay Illich is the author of Fingerspell (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), Rile & Heave (Texas Review Press, 2017), and the chapbook Heteroglossia (Anchor & Plume, 2016). Rile & Heave won the Texas Review Press Breakthrough Prize in Poetry. She also co-authored Teach Living Poets (National Council of Teachers of English, 2021). She teaches at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts.




On Writing Earthwhere

Earthwhere was written under the sign of disaster–a house fire, a global pandemic, the health crisis of a spouse, the stillbirth of my niece. In many of the poems, I address a “you,” a regular feature of lyric poetry, partly because it powerfully conjures a singular other, the “to whom” of address, our most precious loved ones. It made writing the poems feel like receiving the gift of their attention, like they were with me. Also, it made the act of writing an act of preservation, for poems enact and elicit emotion, connection. They’re all love letters, really.


Selections from Earthwhere



Today I felt it, driving past the tennis courts.

The silver-tipped clouds backlit with sun.
I had been feeling so lost. I don’t know how

to explain it except to say that up until lately
I think I’ve been doing things all wrong. And then

it hit me. How much time have I wasted

trying to be smart when what I’m good at is feeling?

It was like finding out you were pedaling
in the wrong gear. What is it the poet said,

the simplest things I learned last.
I wanted to tell you right then. I wanted

to ask you if you felt it. The hum
on the tethers between us.

I walk in the house and listen for you.

I call up from the bottom stair. I call

your name and wait. On the edge of quiet.
I want to tell you everything.


       For Dobie
       A Golden Shovel From Ada Limon’s “The Last Thing”
After E left, you and L & L went upstairs to your room while I

stayed downstairs to babysit H and the puppy (who I can’t

get to stop barking at every little thing). I think it would help

if the curtains were up. I brought home pizza and wings. It

was 47 degrees this morning, and I was feeling smug, so I

looked up how hot it was going to be in Texas today (98). Will

you need me to take your friend’s home later? That’s fine. I never

heard back from you about what you want me to tell people to get

you for your birthday. Do you remember that summer fighting over

Nerf guns with your little cousins? They were hoarding darts and making

you upset. I said, they’re just kids, and you said, But I’m a kid! Everything

feels so all at once. The night the house burned down. So much smoke. Such

intensity. When H & I made it to the neighbor’s yard, there were a

few seconds I thought you were still in the house & I was yelling as big

as I could make my voice. I was calling God. I was making a deal.



Today already twice you’re everywhere

like gullchicks your name the new word  

I see everywhere or “The Trapeze Swingers”

comes on & tilt your breath southwest

I feel your stillblood stir suddenly like noticing

other peoples’ children their feet their bright capes

in October what is a year but the slow stone

of grief leaning on you like a building

the nowhere you are against my earthwhere

in the theater of delivery where the thing is

the thing is the emptiness your open mouth

the thing is the silence that fills the room the silence

building like a crescendo the thing is the silence

the silence is the thing I want to break