LA Author’s Timely Debut Book Maps Out the Universe of Single Motherhood and Her Journey to Power, Truth, and Self-Acceptance
Unsolicited Press announces the long-awaited release of a debut poetry collection by Amy Shimshon-Santo on September 22, 2020. Even the Milky Way is Undocumented is a testament to the lost, the loved, the courageous. The collection includes the viral poems “no (no. 10)” which has been used by educators to teach personal consent to students, and “good fuck poem (a definition)” an erotic testament to affection and the body.
Shimshon-Santo, who has been widely interviewed by outlets including BBC radio, speaks to a moment in history framed by crises in public health and public culture. “Poetry is designed for the subtle work of liberation,” the author said in an interview with Frontier Poetry. Placeholder Press in the United Kingdom describes her work as having “seemingly effortless mastery that can only come from meticulous and dedicated work" and calls her poems "companions for all of us, lost and afraid in a time of crisis.”
Shimshon-Santo’s creative career began in dance, and sent her on a journey from Los Angeles to improvisation in New York; revolutionary community theater in Central America; co-directing a transnational performance ensemble rooted in Bahia-Brazil; molding arts education policy in California, and mentoring leaders in higher education. She balanced the responsibilities of public service and single parenthood with the internal introspection that writing provides.
Even the Milky Way is Undocumented is a unique departure from her other creative and philanthropic works, as she turns her lens inward and focuses on the ongoing pursuit of radical honesty and self-acceptance.
The book spans 25 years of life told through 37 poems, each one carrying us a little bit closer to the heart of the artist. The collection is “a whole life lived,” writes Joshua Roark (Editor, Frontier Poetry). “These poems know deaths and betrayals, police killings and sexual assaults,” writes poet and translator Dan Bellm. Shimshon-Santo finds strength in ritual, music, and family. Author Gayle Brandeis writes that the book “reminds you to listen, to pay attention, to live.”
Writing poetry is “my thermometer for authentic living,” said Shimshon-Santo, who is aware of what it means to be the first woman in one’s family to fill a page and be published. “Poetry helps me know myself, and seek freedom.”
About Amy Shimshon-Santo
Pushcart Award nominee Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer and educator from Dogtown, a place in Los Angeles that no longer exists. Her interdisciplinary work connects the arts, education, and urbanism. Her work crosses genres from poetry and creative non-fiction to choreography and social science. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her creative non-fiction (2017), Best of the Net for her poetry (2018), and was recognized on the National Honor Roll for Service Learning. She is the author of the chapbook of erasure poetry Endless Bowls of Sky (Placeholder Press), and the editor of Arts = Education (UC Press). Her writing has also been published by ArtPlace America, Yes Poetry, Zócalo Public Square, Capsule Stories, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rag Queen Periodical, SAGE Publications, Entropy, Imagining America, Tiferet Journal, and SUNY Press. She is currently an Associate Professor in Arts Management at Claremont Graduate University. To learn more about her work visit www.amyshimshon.com.
About Unsolicited Press
Unsolicited Press was founded in 2012 and is based in Portland, OR. The press strives to produce exceptional works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from award-winning authors. Learn more at www.unsolicitedpress.com.
EVEN THE MILKY WAY IS UNDOCUMENTED (978-1-950730-29-2) is available (paperback, ebook, and audio) directly from the publisher (www.unsolicitedpress.com) and all major retailers. Ingram Book Group distributes the title to the market.
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For artist interviews, readings, and podcasts:
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR EVEN THE MILKY WAY IS UNDOCUMENTED
“Amy Shimshon-Santo’s poems are the words of a survivor, a warrior, and a creator. Time and time again, across borders and languages, her writing takes us into sensuous and deeply emotional places, finding beauty and rootedness and meaning in everyday moment and extraordinary landscapes.”
— Héctor Tobar, Author of Deep Down Dark
“My imagination/is ambidextrous,” writes Amy Shimshon-Santo; so is this stunning collection. These poems are deeply rooted in the body and reach for the stars; they are spacious enough to hold the pain of police brutality and the beauty of an apricot tree, to both interrogate and celebrate, to hold a yes on their lips and a no in their pocket. The poet calls the reader “beloved” in the very first poem, and each page of this collection is suffused with love, with “a grammar/made of kindness”—the kind of love that is unafraid to show you the truth; the kind of love that reminds you to listen, to pay attention, to live. A beautiful and stirring achievement.”
— Gayle Brandeis, Author of The Art of Misdiagnosis
“I’ve decided to dress my body / in blessings,” a poem called “grace” announces, toward the end of this wonderful collection by Amy Shimshon-Santo. Which does not mean that blessings come easy: these poems know deaths and betrayals, police killings and sexual assaults, and a parent’s everyday fears for her children’s lives, but on the power of ritual and music they emerge into strength and grace. A couple of the poems – “no (no. 10)” and “a good fuck poem (definition),” maybe others – are already underground anthems being passed from hand to hand. The body and the natural world are one in Amy’s work; languages and lives are “borderless,” ever crossing and re-crossing; and words from her pen are “strings of indigo light.” — Dan Bellm, Author of Deep Well
“Shimshon-Santo's debut collection rings with music—we need more men like these poems, more women, more human beings with "shark teeth grinning / at the spools of happiness / stored inside." The poetry of Even The Milky Way Is Undocumented devours a whole life lived, leaving bare Shimshon-Santo's vulnerable bones: the work breathes simultaneously political, maternal, erotic and furious. The world hungers for more books like this." — Joshua Roark, Editor of Frontier Poetry
“Amy Shimshon-Santo is “a true poet. the kind that breaks the old language and reconstructs the new from shards and visions. I am grateful for her as we always are when the artist appears just at the nick of time.” — Deena Metzger, Author of A Rain of Night Birds
“I urge you to discover the poetic beauty of Los Angeles’ very own Amy Shimshon-Santo. Her voz magnífica will leave you breathlessly glowing in the dark. Amy’s rhymes are alive and connect with your cuerpo, your body, your mind, and every desire in between. Her voice and verses will satisfy your poetic cravings. Embrace the gift of these poems.”
— Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, Author of Flashes and Verses
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