The poems in WHEN I STOPPED COUNTING employ a complex and conscious form of nostalgia, sifting memories and distilling them into a potent tonic which questions typical assumptions regarding gender and class. At the same time, Menefee’s imagery polishes the ordinary losses inherent in passing time into startling brilliance. Clever but never easy, these poems often build to stunning turns. Like the grandmother dreaming of sewing in one poem, Menefee is “feeding the fabric, / the stitches linking deftly as she turns the cloth at / precisely the right moment—a perfect corner.” This work, “tangled in neurons, / quietly scratching,” continues to resonate long after you’ve turned the final page.

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]


“Being barefoot is always worth it,” concludes one of Charissa Menefee’s young narrators about the risk posed by needles on the floor of a beloved grandmother’s sewing room. Like many of the other spare, evocative poems in WHEN I STOPPED COUNTING, this poem advocates embracing experience rather than shying away from it. Portraying vivid scenes of womanhood and survival—the young girl learning to handle a shotgun, the mother laboring with her third child, the grandmother dreaming in her wheelchair—Menefee poignantly underscores the value of counting loves and possibilities rather than counting losses and lacks.
— Sheila Sanderson, Author of KEEPING EVEN and Editor of ALLIGATOR JUNIPER

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]



Product Description


WHEN I STOPPED COUNTING by Charissa Menefee 

$13.99, paper

Charissa Menefee is a poet, playwright, director, and performer. She is on the faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University, where she teaches scriptwriting, dramatic literature, and performance studies. Her poetry is also forthcoming in the 2016 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine anthology. A recent finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award, she has had plays honored by the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s New American Playwrights Project, Pandora Festival of New Plays, and Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project. She is co-founder of Tomorrow’s Theatre Tonight, a reading and development series that introduced Arizona audiences to new plays for nine seasons, and was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. After spending many years in the mile-high mountain town of Prescott, Arizona, she now lives in Ames, Iowa.

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]


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