Reading & Signing: Diannely Antigua and Maggie Dietz, with Mercy Carbonell

Join us for an event with Portsmouth Poet Laureate Diannely Antigua! She'll be joined by poet Maggie Dietz, with a conversation moderated by Mercy Carbonell!

With an equal dose of fatalism and dark wit, Antigua captures the body's capacity to cage and cradle sadness.

Diannely Antigua's Good Monster grapples with the body as a site of chronic pain and trauma. Poignant and guttural, the collection "voyage[s] the land between crisis and hope," chronicling Antigua's reckoning with shame and her fallout with faith. As poems cage and cradle devastating truths--a stepfather's abusive touch, a mother's "soft harm"--the speaker's anxiety, depression, and boundless need become monstrous shadows. Here, poems dance on bars, speak in tongues, and cry in psych wards. When "God [becomes] a house [she] can't leave," language becomes the only currency left. We see the messiness of survival unfold through sestinas, a series of Sad Girl sonnets, and diary entries--an invented collage form using Antigua's personal journals. At the crux of despair, Antigua locates a resilient desire to find a love that will remain, to feel pleasure in an inhospitable body and, above all, to keep on living.


Praise for Good Monster:

"This book holds hope and forgiveness for a self that is “broken like bread.” Exclaiming “Maybe I was terrible and beautiful things still happened,” these poems are not afraid to become “the villain in the room,” to dive deep into what is monstrous and angelic. These poems ask us: What is a self? With poetry as our friend, we find an answer in the returning sunshine always. To hope for a self that can bloom again, reappear from something terrible and beautiful and still sing."


I want to be the ruined woman who stays / alive,” Diannely Antigua avows in Good Monster, an intoxicating, chest-open account of the resurrected self who has defied countless deaths. These poems press into the wound as a path to relief. Good Monster, electric with Antigua’s lyrical sorcery, will break you, embrace you, and shove your face in the muck the second you’re tempted to look away. Because these poems never look away. Good Monster is a visceral sad-girl triumph.


Diannely Antigua’s Good Monster is a vivid fever dream of a book. Antigua’s electrifying voice articulates the power and vulnerabilities of the body in poems that are both intimate and fierce, blazing with life force despite the world’s pervasive violence and harm.”


Diannely Antigua (she/her) is a Dominican American poet and educator born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection, Ugly Music, won a 2020 Whiting Award and the Pamet River Prize. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, where she was awarded a Global Research Initiative Fellowship to Florence, Italy. She was a finalist for the 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship and the winner of fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Academy of American Poets. Her work has appeared in the Best of the Net Anthology and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She currently serves as the poet laureate of Portsmouth, NH, and is the youngest and first person of color to hold the title. As host of the Bread & Poetry podcast, she aims to make poetry more accessible to the community, interviewing poets and non-poets alike about what poetry means to them.

Maggie Dietz is the author of Perennial Fall, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and coeditor of Americans' Favorite PoemsPoems to Read, and An Invitation to Poetry. She teaches at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Event date: 
Thursday, June 13, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Water Street Bookstore
125 Water Street
Exeter, NH 03833
Good Monster By Diannely Antigua Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556596902
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - May 14th, 2024