Bitterbrush by Phyllis Mannan



Phyllis Mannan’s Bitterbrush is a deeply affecting, bittersweet account of what life feels like to parent an autistic child, not only during that child’s young years but also when he becomes an adult. In language at once spare yet knife-edge sharp, these poems are remarkable for their will-not-look-away gaze. What seems hard to endure and difficult to appreciate, Mannan suggests, is commensurate with the much maligned thistles in her neighbor’s yard that with close scrutiny reveal “brown flowers like bristles” that are nevertheless “Soft / purple down at the tip.” Bitterbrush is a tension-ridden page-turner filled with poems bearing such delicate petals that we must hold our breath to prevent them from fluttering and falling away.

–Andrea Hollander, author of Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982-2012





by Phyllis Mannan

$13.99, paper


A former high school English teacher, Phyllis Mannan lives with her husband on the north Oregon coast. She has received an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and her poems have appeared in Cloudbank, Fireweed, The Oregonian, Rain Magazine, StringTown, Verseweavers, Willow Springs, and other publications. Her memoir, Torn Fish: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and Their Shared Humanity, published in 2015, asks, “What happens when a child with autism grows up?” and “What makes us human?”



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