The Hopper Literary Magazine 2018 Poetry Prize Winner
After June is written with a musician’s affinity for and attention to pattern, rooted in the author’s experience as a choral singer since the age of 14. The collection engages complexly with religion, loss, and womanhood. Raised in a Conservative Mennonite community, Gingerich speaks “with an exile’s voice” (Austin Hummel), interrogating the traditions that shaped her with a critical but tender eye. After June grapples with the pain and beauty of living truthfully in a world where the roles we play for others are often in conflict with our own desires. This struggle animates an ambitious first collection, following the writer across the rich landscapes of Ohio and West Virginia, like “an artist, carrying her tools from one job to another” (“Window with Pink Geraniums and Aching Body”), ever searching for the meaning of home, and belonging.
Advance Praise for After June
“Charles Wright, another Appalachian poet, has said that he ‘believes in belief.’ Charity Gingerich’s song-book—After June truly is a hymnal—shimmers with belief: in the ephemeral prayer bead of an Asian ladybug, a bird calling where? where?, in the sigh God hears when the sea strand parts from sky for the first time. The book is full of voice. Gingerich even ‘dreams in dulcimer.’ Yet as the title signals, this is not a book of untested praises; the speaker understands the paradox of wording the world—how poems arrest the mystery and make of it a smaller church.”
—Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Satin Cash and Orexia
“The poems in this remarkable debut collection are at once companionable and startling. The poet faithfully leads us into her own rich terrain, frequently the southern U.S. mountains. Her landscapes are almost always lit with magnificent sun or moonlight. One thing transforms to another in these poems, which move and leap and shift—the way our own lives do. The book documents a believer’s hesitant awareness of danger and her discovery of death and loss. But even as she struggles with loss and dying, she asks, ‘What can I do but imitate/ wonder, and shape myself after it.’ And I say yes.”
—Jeanne Murray Walker, author of Helping the Morning: New and Selected Poems
“‘The first note of every song is about precision,’ Charity Gingerich writes, in a book full of startlingly precise and beautiful poems. Finely tuned and extravagant, alert to both the earthy and the sacred, her lines open brief but definite fields of harmony within the hazards and heartbreaks of this life”.
—Jeff Gundy, author of Abandoned Homeland and Somewhere Near Defiance
About the Poet
Charity Gingerich is from Uniontown, Ohio. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as FIELD, the Kenyon Review, Arts & Letters, Ruminate,Indiana Review and North American Review. She has taught a variety of composition, literature and creative writing classes at West Virginia University, Fairmont State University, and the University of Mount Union. Currently she teaches ESL to international businessmen and their families. When not writing and teaching, she enjoys singing with various choral groups.
About the Artist
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michelle Kingdom studied drawing and painting at UCLA, earning a Bachelor’s degree in fine art. Quietly creating figurative narratives in thread for years, Michelle is a self-taught embroiderer who now exhibits her work nationally and internationally. Her embroideries have been featured in numerous publications such as The Huffington Post, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Saatchi Gallery, and Colossal. When not busy stitching, Michelle is a preschool teacher and lives in Burbank, CA with her husband and daughter.
Cover art: Michelle Kingdom, “Light as Dust,” 2018. Hand embroidery on linen, 10˝ x 13˝.
After June poems
100 pages; 6 x 8 in. $15.95
Pub Date: August 6, 2019
Distributed to the book trade by Midpoint Trade / IPG.
Advance reader copies coming in March.
Soft launch & galley giveaway at AWP-19 in Portland, Oregon.