Some Dark Familiar

Julia C. Alter’s Some Dark Familiar begins as an excavation of the shadow sides of motherhood— often hidden from plain sight and public view. In the collection, Alter turns an unflinching eye on postpartum depression, maternal ambivalence, pregnancy termination, and the complex weaving of sexuality with motherhood. However, the author knows that no shadows are cast without light. Some Dark Familiar also seeks to illuminate the reclaiming of erotic power/true selfhood after giving birth. By the close of the collection, the book becomes a love letter from a single mother to her only son; a son being raised in America during the last gasps of the patriarchy, in the face of all of its interpersonal and ecological violence. 



Advance Praise for Some Dark Familiar


I was drawn to this book for its singular voice and remarkable tonal control. Each poem has an intensity and a sense of risk that makes the stakes immediately feel palpable and real. Some Dark Familiar is filled with poems that are hard to turn away from, and the feeling it evokes lingers long after each reading.

Matthew Olzmann, Final Judge

Some Dark Familiar by Julia C. Alter asks ‘What’s the opposite of a mother?’ The answer is a voice that hums with all the quiet force of ‘A river with its mouth/ silted up.’ This book is a praise song, a testimony, a taxonomy of what some call transformation and others call life.”

Tomás Q. Morín, author of Machete

“Julia C. Alter’s Some Dark Familiar is a shattered hymn to motherhood, revealing, with shards of language that gleam in the light, the ways in which becoming a mother can break and reassemble a self. Alter takes the reader on a wild journey through pop songs, dance clubs, woods, and outer space, sniffing out a lost self, like the ‘coyote in the field tonight / that may have rabies, or else has lost / its mother. It just keeps circling— / looking back at me.’ Some Dark Familiar is a stunningly original collection that enters the darkness of the womb and shines a blinding light on the truths hidden there.”

Hila Ratzabi, author of There Are Still Woods

Pre-order a signed copy from the author’s local bookstore, Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont:

About the Author

Photo by Karen Pike

Julia C. Alter holds an MFA in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and appears widely in journals including The Southern Humanities Review, The Raleigh Review, The Santa Clara Review, Smartish Pace, Sixth Finch, Palette Poetry and Permafrost, as well as Stained: An Anthology of Writing About Menstruation, and Ecobloomspaces: Poetry at the Intersection of Social Identity and Nature/Environment/Place. She lives in Vermont with her son.

Some Dark Familiar
Paperback Original
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Page Count: 88
Price: $16.95 (CA $22.95)
ISBN: 979-8-9891784-9-0
Publication Date: April 9, 2024
Distributor: IPG/Chicago, Ingram.
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & PR: Dede Cummings,

Distributor: IPG; also available through Follett/Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and other wholesalers.
Individuals can pre-order directly from, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741

To request an advance reader copy—digital or print—email