Rules of Hunger ~poems~
by Lois Roma-Deeley
Publisher: Star Cloud Press
Year of Publication: 2004
Format: Soft Cover
Page Count: 101
Also Available: NorthSight ~ poems
Rules of Hunger is a satisfying debut collection of poems which creates a "mosaic of hard joy for the noble gestures and honorable lives" of one Italian-American family with its "legacy of sorrow as well as humor."
Reading Group Guide
About the Author:
Lois Roma-Deeley's first full-length collection of poems, Rules of Hunger, earned her a National Book Award nomination as well as an Arizona Library Association Author Award nomination. She is an Emily Dickinson in Poetry Competition winner (Universities West Press), third place. In addition, her poetry earned her a Pushcart nomination. Roma-Deeley has published in more than six anthologies including the American Book Award winner Looking for Home (Milkweed Editions). She has published in numerous national literary journals, including Water~Stone, Iris, Faultline, and Controlled Burn. Her work has earned her several awards for outstanding writing, including a nomination for the 2003 Arizona Governor's Arts Awards and a residency fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation. Her poem was selected for special merit by Molly Peacock in The Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award competition. Roma-Deeley was one of four featured poets at the Chicago Humanities Festival venue: ARTIST DIALOGUE: Poetry/Women/Art. She has studied under the direction of many prominent poets such as Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove and Norman Dubie, Alberto Rios, Jane Hirshfield, C.D. Wright, Marilyn Nelson, Bruce Weigl. Roma-Deeley holds an MFA (poetry) from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. (poetry) from the Union Institute and University . She is Poet-in-Residence at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. Roma-Deeley grew up in North Babylon, New York and currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her family. She can be contacted for readings, workshops and/or interviews through her publisher at StarCloudPress.com or 480-609-0065.
From the Back Cover:
"One poem in this collection opens with the line, 'Sliding over these days, peeling shadows off my heart'; a second poem closes with the question, 'I ask, again, what takes us/to and from our dreams.' These remarkable lines set the stage for this shadow-play book of poems, whose offerings gift the reader with glimpses of a literal peeling away of the narrator's layers of experience. These poems create a mosaic of hard joy."
"Rules of Hunger is a book in praise of noble gestures and honorable lives. It is also a book of deep longing and obsession. With a sure and savvy voice, Roma-Deeley travels these two roads at once: the daily path of the ordinary life and the visceral highway that delivers us from the familiar. In between we meet the ancestors, the dreamers, the lovers, and the burning door of sorrow. Rules of Hunger is rich with the contradiction and wild dimension that makes us human."
"These poems deliciously tilt our equilibrium inside the private lives we long for. Lois Roma-Deeley's bright visual effects infuse her narratives with tender and tough compassion. One of Anne Sexton's gifts to us revealed that the dramatis personae of domestic life feed us in a disappearing act of human transmogrification. Roma-Deeley is alert to danger, yes, but she also assures us that hunger not only commands us, but guides and feeds us. Phoenix and Sicily could not otherwise coincide so well! 'The spinning world/laughs' and in this book of beset perceptions and retrievals, we are beloved guests at the celebration."
"The poems in Lois Roma-Deeley's first collection, Rules of Hunger, often start in the rich world of the family (Italian, in Roma-Deeley's case) with its legacy of sorrow as well as humor. Then in scintillate, sudden leaps, they take us elsewhere. 'North of Babylon,' for example, moves from a childhood city 'built with more walls than/gates' to the haunting image of a woman seeing 'an argument of opening doors.' I'm utterly compelled by how wondrously, again and again, Roma-Deeley goes from the generally observable to the specifically abstract. This is a startling and beautiful debut collection."
"Lois Roma-Deeley's powerful poems are born from danger into a dangerous world, where 'plastic doves pile around your knees' in the Kay-Bee store, each bird 'lying on its broken back.' These finely crafted poems immerse us in the effects of growing up 'on the other side of town.'"
"Through the twin lenses of grief and joy, Rules of Hunger examines one woman's childhood and her subsequent removal to a contemporary desertified Arizona; from the combined images of that particular gaze, Lois Roma-Deeley creates meaning. These are poems rich in content, muscular in their form and strange in the way all good art is strange. The poems of Lois Roma-Deeley are fierce, pared down and essential and accomplish the greatest of poetic tasks, which is to document-with care and precision-the lives and deaths of those whom we love."
"In reading Lois Roma-Deeley's first book of poems, Rules of Hunger, I am struck by the careful precision of her observations. Roma-Deeley marshals these observations in the service of a threshold experience: that moment when you put your hand on the door and then, taking the risk, you push through into the unknown. The poems in Rules of Hunger take us through, and we go willingly."
—Peter Huggins, Phi Kappa Phi Forum
"In this debut poetry collection, the voice cascades from knowing to wonder and back again. The poet uses poetry as a tool to celebrate both triumphs and defeats. It is a mirror as well as a shroud."
—Olivia Boler, ForeWord Magazine
"Prize-winning poet Lois Roma-Deeley...gives us a tour through some points of light and darkness that afford us savory pleasures and normal despairs by turns. By book's end, we know much better through Roma-Deeley's risking-taking with language the simple pleasures can have sharp edges, and those sharp edges are the sort that give our lives their shape. These are lyric poems, short bursts, sometimes done in images leading to a moment of truth for readers halfway through the poem."
—Roberta Burnett, Arizona Republic
"In 1990 Bill Baer founded The Formalist, A Journal of Metrical Poetry. When he had seen it, the playwright Arthur Miller wrote him, I am sure I will not be the only one who will be grateful for it. Frankly, it was a shock to realize, as I looked through the first issue, that I had very nearly given up the idea of taking pleasure from poetry. That is the trouble with American poets these days --they have forgotten how to entertain the reader. The result is that almost no one reads poetry these days because it isn't fun any more. That's why running across someone like Lois Roma-Deeley is so satisfying. Her new book of poetry titled Rules of Hunger is not only readable, it is enjoyable to read. She is a paisan' but not only that. She is a paisan' who can conjure up a world in words. You don't believe me? Look at this from 'The Apostle of Wax and Shine'":
'If St. Paul should ever lose his way
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