"Molberg teaches me the importance of women in healing—in mothers, in friendship, in a squid as an emblematic feminist. The polyphony of voices against abuse becomes love as coalition as collective as a community. This book is my heart's hospital, my anthem of refusal.”
—Traci Brimhall, author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod
"The brilliant index around which these poems spin is the image of the hospital for our previously undiagnosed wounds of the mind and spirit...Refusal establishes her as one of the leading poets of her generation."
—David Keplinger, author of Another City, winner of the 2019 Rilke Prize
"Jenny Molberg has reinvented the confessional poem as a heroine’s journey. A poet in the Orphic tradition, she journeys into the Underworld to rescue her speakers, her Penelope, her Ophelia, her battered and accused and underestimated and gaslighted Eurydices. She brings them line by exquisite line back to the world of the living. She’s nobody’s fool and she knows what’s at stake...In Refusal she writes a world where her speakers become free to look back or forward or cast their gaze in any dark corner that could use a little light."
—Kathryn Nuernberger, author of Rue
“In her first book, Marvels of the Invisible, Jenny Molberg looks through a scientific lens in poems that are both memoirs and detailed descriptions of life forces. Her verse is lush with imagery, and in both her lyric and narrative poetry shows imagination and mastery of craft. This book won the Berkshire Prize from Tupelo Press, and it’s clear on reading the poems why it was a winner.”
— George Longenecker, Rain Taxi
“Molberg’s poems with female-identifying voices respond to male violence using precise details to upend such supine moments. It’s her ability to bring us into the microscopic that makes us feel each cascading idea. In a year where we all have seen so much of the ubiquity of female endurance, Molberg’s shared speakers invent and present the new prosody of a #MeToo movement.”
— Matthew Minicucci, The Rumpus
“[Molberg] is a poet of intimacies, of the body, the family, the natural world, and emblematic of her difficult yet clarifying vision of those intimacies is the remarkable poem, ‘Superficial Heart,’ about a child born with its heart external to its body. The human heart exposed: the ultimate intimacy, marvelous and terrible, and in Molberg’s surgically precise hands, unforgettable.”
— B. H. Fairchild
“Molberg’s startling collection mixes memory with biology while citing the Torah, the Brothers Grimm and archival letters from 18th century scientists. She likes to get right up close to the body, delve into its interior for meaning. In her lucid, clear-voiced poems, acts of seeing become acts of self-definition. Dreaming of her doctor father as a boy, she sees him viewing an ant under his toy microscope, the insect ‘almost sickening in its translucence.’ The body laid bare is intimate and excruciating, like her mother’s cancer decades later.”
— Diana Whitney, The San Francisco Chronicle