The Body and Its Mansions: Joyanna Laughlin

Filled with night-flowering images, mystery, light and wild darkness, this memoir-in-verse turns words inside out exploring universal issues in candid moments and demonstrating how the sober life has become the sacred life.”

Leah Maines,Chapbook Series Editor, Finishing Line Press.


The Body and Its Mansions: Joyanna Laughlin:

The Body and Its Mansions: Joyanna Laughlin:


God is “in each breath,” Joyanna Laughlin tells us in her debut chapbook, The Body, and Its Mansions, writing from the stage in life where the poet knows “how it feels to be vincible.” In each poem she turns words inside out with glee. “It’s a little distracting—attraction,” she says, taking a gimlet-eyed view of divorce and the steps into a new life. Laughlin creates elegies for an alcoholic mother in a Jackie O dress and for a great horse named Santa Cruz, disabled for a jumping career; her poems display how the ordinary, like the carving of pumpkins on Halloween, can unleash terrifying dramas. The Body, and Its Mansions gives us candid moments from a memoir-in-verse that demonstrates on every page how the sober life has become the sacred life.

Molly Peacock, author most recently of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72.


The poems in this wonderful collection build a world and tell a story—of a bay horse ridden in youth, a gin-scented mother, the surprising sensuality of middle age, scarred bodies, sacred women, acceptance, addiction and freedom. The imagination at work here is often night-flowering, interested in mystery, the power of the moon, light and wild darkness. Full of lush, gorgeous language, this is a book to savor.

Reeves Keyworth, author of Beethoven at Breezy Point (Kattywompus Press

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