Lisa Allen Ortiz
Stem is a book about the body. The body, in this book, is imagined as a stem. The human body, rooted in seed, expands itself or is forced upward until at its higher end, another seed appears. Such is this book’s conception of body: seed, effort, some kind of mind and the experience therein. When we have a body we are said to be alive, but where inside the body–this book asks–does such aliveness reside, and what is it about that aliveness that we name it: mine.
At the center of this book is a florist. She is imagined. Also, she imagines. Arranged, she arranges. Composed, she composes. Like a living body, she is born, desires, fears and, in some senses, dies. This book considers her. This book pokes at what’s living in itself.
Throughout this book, there are poems about the neck. The human neck connects the human body to what we call the mind. The author of this book had some trouble with her neck. Inside the neck is the throat, a hollow space where words are formed. Trauma and abuse, experts say, constrict the throat. This book would like to be opened.
WINNER OF THE IDAHO PRIZE FOR POETRY 2021