Lily Poetry Review Books Panel

From loss to celebration, Chloe Yelena Miller’s new poetry collection, Viable, now out from Lily Poetry Review, explores pregnancy and motherhood through four sections of short, urgent verse. Relatable and crushing, Miller’s poems shine a light on an early miscarriage and the resulting, far-reaching wounds that friends and doctors often seek to diminish or glide over. In “To Do or After,” a poem in the early section “Carried,” Miller writes, “Eat sushi, soft and blue cheeses, ocean bottom feeders, rare beef.” She continues on to describe the many things she can do now that she isn’t pregnant, ending with the heartbreak of, “At home, trip over the coffee table’s outstretched leg. Land on your stomach. Don’t break your fall.” Miller speaks of her struggle with the emotional transition from grief to hope in her second pregnancy, but the collection doesn’t stay mired in darkness or stasis. Instead, her poems dance effortlessly, placing fear and longing side by side with a refreshing bluntness. We’re gripped by Miller’s experiences, our hearts thumping alongside hers as she gives birth, celebrates this new life she’s been gifted with, and then faces isolating postpartum depression after wanting to be a mother for so long. The guilt and yearning resolve, as much as they ever can for parents, in the last section most aptly titled “Apologies.” In “Your Creation Story,” Miller’s final poem of the collection, she tells her son: “I was your home; / now we all nudge you forward, / make room for you to see out.” Miller will read from Viable during a virtual Politics and Prose panel with Laura Van Prooyen and Jeff Oaks, poets with collections with or forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 17. Registration is available at politics-prose.com. Free; donations encouraged.