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Stacie Cassarino

Stacie Cassarino

Stacie Cassarino lives in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles, California. She is a recipient of the "Discovery"/The Nation prize and the Astraea Foundation Writer's Fund, a finalist for the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, and nominee twice for the Pushcart Prize. She has worked as a chef, and has held teaching positions at Middlebury College in Vermont & Pratt Institute in NYC. She is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. at UCLA.


Zero at the Bone

Zero at the Bone Zero at the Bone

$15.00 paper | 91 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-84-5
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
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Winner, Audre Lorde Award

"Of the many ways of knowing the world, Stacie Cassarino in her elegant and poignant first book of poems, Zero at the Bone, reminds us of the primacy of the senses. She tells us ‘our mouths try to get it right’ or that the ‘mouth of the trees’ will swallow us whole, by which she means taste is the most direct authenticator of experience and also the most defenseless because it’s instruments of lips and tongue are eager. As a result, her great pre-occupation is with the vulnerability of human relationships, but as the title of the book suggests, Cassarino is fearless in her explorations of the risks. She knows ‘you’ve got to live like everything will hurt you.'"
         ––Michael Collier

"'Who ever said / there was a place for you?’ the poet cries out, and Zero at the Bone urges this anxious question in each highly-wrought fibre of its lines. Cassarino’s voice ranges far and near, from the gasp and sigh of creaturely love to the dizzying spaces of American distance, whiteness, silence. Few poets these days can draw their lines so strongly as to make the white space burn like ice, but these fine and focused meditations manage that, till the black scribble of life on the page animates an actual human heat, a speck of life resisting all cold, all loss, all emptiness, while never letting us lose sight of those Furies waiting hungrily in the wings."
         ––Glyn Maxwell

"Zero At The Bone is a book of awakened sensitivities and passing glances at one’s youthful reflection (sparking everywhere). Its pleasures come from sonorous reckonings with what the eye sees there."
        —Ron Slate, On the Seawall


Goldfish Are Ordinary

At the pet store on Court Street,
I search for the perfect fish.
The black moor, the blue damsel,
cichlids and neons. Something
to distract your sadness, something
you don’t need to love you back.
Maybe a goldfish, the flaring tail,
orange, red-capped, pearled body,
the darting translucence? Goldfish
are ordinary
, the boy selling fish
says to me. I turn back to the tank,
all of this grace and brilliance,
such simplicity the self could fail
to see. In three months I’ll leave
this city. Today, a chill in the air,
you’re reading Beckett fifty blocks
away, I'm looking at the orphaned
bodies of fish, undulant and gold fervor.
Do you want to see aggression?
the boy asks, holding a purple beta fish
to the light while dropping handfuls
of minnows into the bowl. He says,
I know you're a girl and all
but sometimes it’s good to see.

Outside, in the rain, we love
with our hands tied,
while things tear away at us.