THE COURT OF NO RECORD
Jenny Molberg’s third collection of poetry, The Court of No Record, serves as both evidence and testimony against a legal system that often fails victims of violence and domestic abuse. Drawing inspiration from true crime investigations and artifacts, including Frances Glessner Lee’s crime scene dioramas and the tragic aftermaths of two serial killers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Molberg probes a cultural obsession with violence that performs active erasure of victims’ lives.
To inquire about galleys for review, please contact Jordyn Lofton at LSU Press.
Advance Praise for THE COURT OF NO RECORD: In Molberg’s harrowing new collection, the witness of documentary poetry meets the fearlessness of the confessional mode. What results is a book of powerful testimony. Often allegorical, these poems are yet firmly rooted in the ‘real things that happen.’ In poem after poem, Molberg testifies to the innumerable ways the justice system fails women, “pulling the truth from the dark.” —Shara McCallum, author of No Ruined Stone Jenny Molberg’s The Court of No Record questions our fascination of violence—specifically violence against women—and our woefully inadequate and misogynist response to it. Dead, abused, or threatened women (the stuff of so much of our detective/thriller entertainment) are given voice in these fearless poems. Back stories (“I loved him in my dumb way” and “We know why she lies. We lied for him too” and “I say aloud/ to no one, I am going to be fine”) give way to terror. Molberg takes ugly truths and makes something beautiful but never in service of amusement or spectacle. This is gorgeous poetry of witness, of social and political examination, of deep intelligence and of a valiant heart. —Denise Duhamel, author of Scald In The Court of No Record, Jenny Molberg takes us on a Dantesque journey through the infernal landscapes of toxic masculinity, intimate partner violence, and legal chicanery as the speaker’s poems are used as evidence against her: “my voice is animal in the courtroom microphone.” Immersing us in the dissociative psychic experience of partner abuse, Molberg ultimately draws herself and us up from the drowning—from victim to survivor to self-proclaimed “bitch”—no longer “too afraid to see that I have always been brave.” —Philip Metres, author of Shrapnel Maps
In Refusal, her searing second collection of poetry, Jenny Molberg draws on elements of the uncanny—invented hospitals, the Demogorgon of Dungeons & Dragons, an Ophelia character who refuses suicide—to investigate trauma, addiction, and forces of oppression. Exposing the effects of widespread toxic misogyny, this confrontational volume examines societal, cultural, and personal gaslighting in situations of domestic abuse. As Molberg writes in “Loving Ophelia Is,” “love and hate simultaneously is the trick of abuse / and the trick of abuse is a vexation of the mind.” A sequence of epistolary poems looks to friendship as a safe haven from violent romantic relationships, while another series on a mother’s struggle with addiction captures the complicated nature of a parent-child relationship affected by alcoholism. Refusal seeks to break silences and to interrogate a cultural misogyny that weighs heavily on a woman’s position in the world.
Praise for REFUSAL: "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 "Jenny Molberg’s second poetry collection, Refusal, is a documentary of survival testimonials, a remedy; her speakers embody the female quest not only for identity but, as Adrienne Rich states, a woman’s “refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society.” —Kara Dorris, The Adroit Journal "Like the title of Jenny Molberg’s Refusal, the reader’s initial reaction is to refuse this agonizing, electric work because of the pain the “I” lays open. But it’s impossible to stop reading because of the raw exposure and bravery that leap off the page." —Aline Soules, Tupelo Quarterly
MARVELS OF THE INVISIBLE
Winner of the Berkshire Prize, Tupelo Press’s First/Second Book Award, selected by Jeffrey Harrison
Honorable Mention, 2017 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize
In this award-winning debut collection, the smallest things of the world bear enormous emotive weight. For Jenny Molberg, the invisible and barely visible are forms of memory, articulations of our place in the cosmos. Parsing the intersections between science and personal history, and contemplating archival letters from 17th- and 18th-century scientists along with new studies in biological phenomena, Molberg’s poems examine complexities of relationships with parents and the faultiness of certainty about earthly permanence. In the title poem, a child begins by looking at an ant through a microscope, and later, as a husband and father, with the same discerning eye he recognizes the cancer in his wife’s breast. Marvels of the Invisible sounds the depths of both grief and amazement, two kinds of awareness inseparably entwined.
Praise for MARVELS OF THE INVISIBLE: “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
Praise for ADELAIDE CRAPSEY: The Life and Work of an American Master: “Crapsey’s selected poetry reads as the lost ligament between the essaying narratives of the nineteenth century and the spare, imagist experiments of the twentieth. Like Rilke, she belonged to neither world, though she mapped her poetic lineage back to the Romantics, specifically the doomed, dark February of John Keats in Rome. As the likes of Carl Sandburg praised her, she innovated forms based on Japanese haiku and tanka while Pound conjured up his metro apparitions. She is no voice of the old world nor the new.” —David Keplinger, author of Another City “Adelaide Crapsey was a visionary poet whose innovative approaches to form laid the groundwork for modernist poetics. Her 5-line cinquains bristle, breathlessly compressed, wriggling and alive. Though her spare, evocative, poems paved the way for the imagists, her work is also undeniably fresh and strange and contemporary, as when she addresses her failing lung, calling it a “freak I cannot pardon.” In this Unsung Masters anthology, Crapsey—a vital, game-changing poet—finally takes her place in literary history.“ —Hadara Bar Nadav, Author of The New Nudity “It is high time contemporary literary scholars attended to the poetic voice of Adelaide Crapsey, a neglected New York literary treasure, whose verse at once illuminates and complicates the spirit of the fin de siècle and modernist literary movements in America. Molberg and Bancroft have compiled a collection of Crapsey’s work poised to advance our understanding of the female experience of pain, loss, and courage in America. What an appropriate moment to reintroduce Crapsey, given our overdue contemporary evolution, wherein the world is—we hope—finally learning what it means to listen to, hear, and even value the unique female experience.” —Ashley E. Reis, PhD