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Blood is Not the Water

Mara Panich


Mara Panich ... exposes that accepted normative fiction compelling women to question themselves, apologize for their perceived body failures, and above all to stand aside when others, especially men, are present. — gary lundy, author of each room echoes absence (FootHills, 2018)

Weaving a tapestry of vulnerability and personal truths, Panich chronicles the connective tissue of trauma, longing, ache, cruelty, exclusion––all orbiting, like many of us, marbled forms of love. — Su Hwang, author of Bodega (Milkweed Editions, 2019)

In this searing debut, we find a collection of poems governed by the body, and like a prism held up to the light, Panich’s book reflects and refracts: the body’s heat, its desire, and the myriad ways it fails and betrays us.  — Keetje Kuipers, author of All Its Charms (BOA Editions, 2019)

In Mara Panich’s Blood is Not the Water, to be alive and in a body is an act of redemption. With a hard-won certainty, Panich’s steady voice leads us through desire and grief, wit and anger, and out the other side. — Alicia Mountain, author of High Ground Coward (University of Iowa Press, 2018)

From the book:

Blood is Not the Water

blood is not the water

our children are restless about

but wine in bladders

and ice cubed coffee mugs.

last night I dreamt

I was dancing with a bear

leash in hand




awoke swimming with sweat

a beastly odor lingering

in my nose.

when I placed my finger

in your mouth

it was a test of trust

a temptation to bite

or suckle

and your bear mouth behaved

as expected

both tender and teeth

to spill wine on my chest.

Blood is Not the Water

is an 88 page hand-stitched paperbook w/spine - $16.00

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Blood is Not the Water




Blood is Not the Water




Montana Poets Series #4

Mark Gibbons, Editor