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Catalog Archive / Spring 2019

Dear Terror, Dear Splendor

Wisconsin Poetry Series
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor

“From uncles and brothers to mothers and daughters, Melissa Crowe delivers searing poems that shine a light on all we inherit from our individual worlds and what we then build from those personal histories. This is a dazzling book—full of damage and love, yearning and astonishment. ”
—Matthew Olzmann

These poems trace the speaker’s emotional biography from a wild and impoverished rural childhood through tender and terrifying adulthood. Rooted in the heart and the messy organs of our mortality, Melissa Crowe’s work is epistolary in tone but gritty in texture. She reckons with the pure pain and buoyant beauty of survival, loss, parenthood, and letting go. These deeply personal poems embrace the hurt that accompanies intimacy and insist that we love fiercely.

She can’t say what it all means—there’s a hole
in everything she paints, surfaces sanded away,

canvases layered over weeks, burned, greased,
gouged, until they become places both tender

and ferocious, until to look at one of them
is to feel afraid and ashamed and exhilarated.

—excerpt from "Places on the Body" © Melissa Crowe. All rights reserved.


Portrait of author Melissa Crowe Melissa Crowe is a poet and author of the chapbooks Cirque du Crève-Coeur and Girl, Giant. Her poems have appeared in Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, and Literary Mama. She is a coeditor of Beloit Poetry Journal and the coordinator of University of North Carolina Wilmington’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Author's Website -




“Throughout Dear Terror, Dear Splendor one never knows what is coming around the bend, and that unexpectancy is what makes for a luscious collection that handles remorseful topics with gratuitous lightheartedness.”
Adroit Journal

“Powerful. . . . For Crowe, language has recuperative power, even if it can’t completely heal.”
Mom Egg Review

“In these pages, you’ll find a poet who loves so deeply she refuses to turn away from the world, no matter how sour or broken. Crowe’s long-awaited debut shines with not just the intricacies of her life, but lessons of how we might each learn to better live our own.”
—Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs

“In this restless and disarming debut, as deftly crafted as the star and as lush and unpredictable as looming motherhood, Melissa Crowe displays lyrical mastery. This is skill meant to savor. And this is a poet who arrives as teacher. We’d be fools not to listen and learn.”
—Patricia Smith



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February 2019
LC: 2018040964 PS
104 pp. 6 x 9

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Paper $14.95
ISBN 9780299321444
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