Paperback Price: $9.95
Paperback ISBN: 1-882295-07-2

Selected Poem

No Stone

marks the grave, still
I call out, expecting
her hand to push
the shifting earth.
(it's summer, it's soft)
She could do it, a mother
can do anything. I would stop running
my fingers through the blades
of grass, smoothing them down
the way a mother moves her whole hand
over the smooth head of her baby.

Even if every mother, alert
under the tumbling earth
was listening for her daughter's call,
(it's soft, it's summer)
and shot her hand through the parting
ground, I would know the swollen finger
joints, the bent knuckles.
I could find my mother's hand
in the middle of millions, waving
back and forth, in perfect time
with the swaying grass.

I could hold
my mother's hand
(it's summer, it's soft)
until the orange sun
sets itself.

Girl Hurt

1996 American Book Award
“Miller-Laino’s voice is vibrant and compelling in these intimate poems about family, work, and the hard road from silence into language.”

“E.J. Miller Laino is a tough, honest poet. She is liable to say anything. Her poems are startling, from their frank treatment of sex and death to the abundance of hard, true metaphors. This is more than a confrontation with daily pain and fear, however; these poems celebrate survival, the durability of family, the liberation of unheard voices, especially female and working-class voices. The poems of E.J. Miller Laino transcend, with all the power and beauty of flight.”
—Martín Espada

Girl Hurt is a vibrant and compelling book, less a “collection” than a spiritual memoir, in which the stature of poetry restores to the word “recovery” its full complexity, depth, and human resonance. One of the thrills of reading it lies in its balance of virtuosity and urgency: the reader has a feeling of watching a top notch slalomer skiing for her life before an avalanche. And outskiing it…how wonderful to be a reader (and a poet) now, when beautiful and moving poems such as these are written to decline Death’s Invitation to Dance.”
—Linda McCarriston

“The imperative that grounds this urgent and affecting first collection of poems is from Muriel Rukeyser’s “Double Ode”: “Pay attention to what they tell you to forget.” In Girl Hurt, E.J. Miller Laino has paid attention. In poem after poem, she tracks the past, its labyrinth of influences that shape our lives in the present, and returns to speak the “hard words” which alone can forge authentic human connections…this is a poetry that cuts to the quick; and it is a poetry that has the amplitude of feeling necessary to affirm that while “some things disappear and stay lost forever,” some things come back in the fullness of time.”
—Robert Cording, author of Heavy Grace


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