Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On

Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On

Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On


Poetry by Jan Wallace.
Winner of the 2019 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize.

ISBN: 9781930781573
Binding: Tradepaper
Pub date: December, 2020


ISBN: 978-1-930781-573
Binding: Tradepaper
December, 2020


Advance praise for Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On:

“In her first full-length collection, Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On, Jan Wallace invites us into a world of lab coats and bras, witches and animals, a tribe of mothers, aunts, and grandmothers and their whiffs of ‘roses, musk, and soup bones,’ the earliest human story and I Love Lucy, the farthest reaches of our galaxy and excited cells in a petri dish that ‘whirl and yield delicate vapors of longing,’ and the instructions, when we scatter the ashes of our loved ones, to ‘beware of breezes’ and ‘do not wear lip glass.’ Through surprise and delight, humor and heartache, these poems are exquisite and wildly wise explorations of relationships of all kinds. I do not know of another poet quite like Jan Wallace. Her voice, in its originality and variety, is a welcome addition to contemporary American poetry.”

—Derek Sheffield, author of Not for Luck, winner of the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize

“Jan Wallace’s collection, Nothing Like The Doll You Learned On, creates a clear path between the human heart and the earth’s heart – how sometimes one overtakes the other, how sometimes one invents the other. These poems are full of wry humor and detail that on a clear day, we might still ignore or take for granted. And always, through the nature of both, there is an understanding of what, after all, is natural, and that we, like the changing of seasons are ‘less a leaving than a lingering.’”

—Colleen McElroy, author of Here I Throw Down My Heart

“In Jan Wallace’s Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On, life stories, now gone, still linger like a ‘thought balloon,’ or like a ‘cat-sized hole’ in the sky, at least long enough so that the nature of relationship, with its ‘well-meaning dearth,’ can adjust to the present. The poems unite the clarity of description here to the tremolo of song, evoking scenes stripped of magic—but in the ‘sudden shudder’ of association, again bewitched. Cadences tell of personas for whom the scientific imagination and temporality of ghosts are one; ancestors appear in reveries; the dead as apparition and ashes. Throughout this marvelous book, Wallace’s images emerge ‘out of the wild kingdom’ to strike hot as though ‘Anyone would swallow / the moon raw and go nova.’”

—Roberto Tejada, author of Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness and Full Foreground

“Jan Wallace’s Nothing Like the Doll You Learned On unlocks the magical eccentricity present in human frailty and nature unfettered. Wallace writes, ‘I don’t want to go to the moon. I would miss eating tomatoes— […] On the moon there are no Gold Rush Currents, / or rhododendrons brash and red as can-can dancers.’ In this gloriously playful collection, what is ‘Ashen, luminous, empty’ pulses through the rivers, ‘swallowing silt, crying forward.’”

—Kimberly Berwick


About the Author

Jan Wallace’s poems and essays have previously appeared in various journals including A Journal of the Built + Natural World; Off Paper The Project Room’s literary magazine; Field; Poetry Northwest; Hubbub; Fine Madness; Arcade: A Journal of Architecture and Design in the Northwest; Nest and The Seattle Review. Her honors include an International Writer’s Fellowship completed at Hawthornden Castle, Scotland, UK.


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