Lisa Mottolo’s How to Monetize Despair transforms devastation into clean-burning fuel, complicating and ultimately exploding the concept of self-help. These poems are dark, playful, and surreal, examining the threshold between life and death, juxtaposing flourishes of nature with vulnerabilities of the body and things we leave behind. In “Destroying a Flower” the speaker observes, “It’s funny, we see fleetingness as sad / as though it would be good if everything lasted forever, // giving us enough time to get sick of everything.” How to Monetize Despair is a stunning debut from a poet with remarkable range.
---Mary Biddinger, author of Department of Elegy
“Here is a poet sparring in the darkness--bloodied fists swinging through empty midnight air and somehow landing every punch in every poem.”
---Dan Sicoli, Co-editor of Slipstream and author of Pagan Supper
“Mottolo writes for us the self-help book we most deserve: it doesn’t make us better than, but reveals who we are… “A ruby-throated hummingbird came up the window / and I missed it because I was reading a poem about God.” Even our effort to be good divorces us from the good. And yet—and yet these poems are so profoundly tender in their unsparing insights that the book reads not as an indictment, but a strange book of innocence.”
---Dan Beachy-Quick, Poet, Writer, and Critic
How to Monetize Despair is a captivating exploration of a wide range of subjects and ideas, from traumatic loss and the sorrows of human relationships to the natural but absurd world of neurotic caterpillars and philosophical cockroaches. With a unique blend of imagery, self-help inspired titles, and Mottolo’s peculiar brand of humor, this collection takes readers on a one-of-a-kind journey through human experience. This collection is a must-read for anyone seeking to explore the complexities of trauma and struggle, and to encounter a sea creature or butterfly along the way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Mottolo is a poet and essayist who splits time between Austin, Texas and Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica. She has attended writing programs at The University of California at Berkeley and Kenyon College, and is Assistant Editor at Atmosphere Press. Her work has appeared in Penn Review, DIAGRAM, and The Laurel Review, and How to Monetize Despair is her first book. A native of Schenectady, New York, she now lives with her husband, two children, one dog, one rabbit, and, of course, four birds.
ABOUT THE PRESS
Unsolicited Press strives to produce exceptional works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from award-winning authors. Unsolicited Press is based out of Portland, Oregon and focuses on the works of the unsung and underrepresented. As a womxn-owned, all-volunteer small publisher that doesn’t worry about profits as much as championing exceptional literature, we have the privilege of partnering with authors skirting the fringes of the lit world. We’ve worked with emerging and award-winning authors such as Shann Ray, Amy Shimshon-Santo, Brook Bhagat, Kris Amos, and John W. Bateman. Learn more at unsolicitedpress.com. Find us on twitter and Instagram, @unsolicitedp.
HOW TO MONETIZE DESPAIR is available on December 12, 2023 as a paperback and e-book (all major retailers). Retailers, schools, and libraries can order copies through Ingram. The author is open to speaking with the media, holding readings, and engaging in other author opportunities.
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