Lesbian bars, libraries, highways, churches, and oil rigs set the scenes for the poems in Landlocked. Whether at work or at play, the speakers in Landlocked live in the space between longing and belonging, wanderlust and homesickness, and explore the intersection of place and identity. In the era of “don’t say gay,” these poems provide a defiantly queer perspective on Oklahoma, one of the reddest of the red states, and its many contradictions.
Julia McConnell is a poet and a librarian. Her chapbook, Against the Blue, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. Her publications include Whale Road Review, Shark Reef, Right Hand Pointing, Plainsongs, Lavender Review, and other journals. Originally from Oklahoma, Julia lives in Seattle with her Jack Russell Terrier.
With humor, grace, the perfectly placed earthbound image, and ineffable longing, Julia McConnell writes of “things that seem unbearable” in ways that make them bearable, glorious, necessary, true. These poems reawaken forgotten yearnings, and remind one of the complexities of love and loss, landscapes, and home. Julia McConnell is an important new voice in American poetry, and Landlocked is a stunning debut.
—Rilla Askew, author of Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place
Julia McConnell’s Landlocked teems with all the strange, violent, and glittering ephemera of America’s forgotten places. With precise language, thrilling music, and unforgettable images, “we are drilled into the interior” of romantic and dangerous landscapes. In these poems, the reader rides shotgun while our guide narrates her singular dream—a dream in which illness, Elizabeth Bishop, diner breakfast, and gay bars weave seamlessly along the highway shoulder. I can’t remember reading a debut so complex and self-assured. Landlocked proclaims the arrival of a major talent. —Lisa Wells, author of The Fix
The poet’s sense of place as central to both personal and public narrative strikes powerful chords with this reader, as do the diction, images, management of white space, and formal choices made in creating and assembling this powerful collection.
—Thomas Lynch, National Book Award finalist The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade