Odes to Lithium
Odes to Lithium
“Through her nonlinear narrative of hospitalization, treatment and everyday life, Erlichman turns a confessional self-portrait of crisis into a chemical, chimerical joyride toward self-acceptance. . . These stylistic upheavals reinvigorate the book’s project again and again, allowing the ode form tremendous malleability and verve, all the while destigmatizing bipolar disorder through candor, intimacy and creativity."—Emilia Phillips, The New York Times
Available in both print.
Shira Erlichman is a writer, visual artist, and musician. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed Reader, Nomadic Press, The Rumpus and PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series, among others. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and was awarded a residency by the Millay Colony, the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, and the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe. Her first children’s book Be/Hold is forthcoming from Penny Candy Books. She is half of the Odes for You Tour with poet Angel Nafis. As a musician she’s performed across the US, sharing stages with TuNe-YaRdS, CocoRosie and Mirah. She’s independently released seven albums, including Subtle Creature which premiered in BUST Magazine and was hailed as a "spectacular mystery." Born in Israel, raised in Massachusetts, she now lives in Brooklyn. Learn more at www.officialshira.com.
"[Erlichman] pounds words into one, into transparent fusions that give away their own origin, the crash making the new words gallop inside of themselves. Like a heart."
—Émilie Kneifel for Adroit Journal
"Odes to Lithium is a testament to how treating mental illness isn’t the death knell of creativity, but rather a conduit.”
—Corinne Engber for JewishBoston
“Oh, Radiance. Survival and Surviving Field. How rare, an Eye like this, so able to access its marrow language—original, honest, dear, strange. These poems document and enact processes of finding a language imaginative and struggling enough to carry one’s life. Moving us through imagistic splay and shift, the line is Erlichman’s measure: ‘I know what the sea knows / with the bottom of its mind / unfathomed.’ These poems, I think, are little ‘sight’-engines—miraculous, fevered, whirring things. I’m astonished by breath and lasting at all. I ‘pull a flower / from her skull / & weave it into mine.’ I love her way, her mind.”
—Aracelis Girmay, Whiting Award Winner and author of The Black Maria, Kingdom Animalia, and Teeth.
“Shira Erlichman’s poems transmit experience that nearly defies language, leaving the reader drenched with a new reading of the human: the effects of the mind’s rupture, the enigma of the body’s messages, the terror of one’s own infinitely ingenious yet alien logic. The voice of these pages comments wryly on others’ wary, frightened reactions that increase anguish in the name of helping. The poems trace encounters with mental illness that could not be encompassed by anything but Shira’s honed and startling language and her visual accompaniment of images, each page burnished into a glittering object.”
—Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D., author of A Shining Affliction, The Unsayable and Incandescent Alphabets: Psychosis and The Enigma of Language.
“Odes to Lithium is a remarkable book: it is beautiful, deeply perceptive, haunting, and original. It is wonderful.”
—Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Pulitzer Finalist, Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire
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