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Unearth [The Flowers]


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About the Author

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Thea Matthews is a queer Black Indigenous Mexican poet. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, The Acentos Review, The Rumpus, and others. She is a contributing author in anthologies Still Here San Francisco (Foglifter Press, 2019) and Love WITH Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse (AK Press, 2019). www.theamatthews.com


"Thea Matthews is a poetic herbalist, using flowers to create healing. This work is egalitatarian, touching on blooms of all sorts: indigenous, imported, bolted and cultivated. You will feel these poems in the root of your jaw, in your foot arches. Matthews is an experienced poet with a deft hand and an honest heart. These words languidly stretch, snap like a lock blade, they drape and twine and reach. Read this work and be changed." --Kim Shuck, San Francisco Poet Laureate"What if every flower, in her reach, is evidence of survival. What if every opening, every petal holds a lesson about healing. Not only every flower, what if all life condemns the violence that has become pervasive in the lives of children. What if every form of life, however small, offers her own scripture for growth, persistence and beauty and Thea Matthews went and found them and offered them to you. Would you yet listen, would you yet answer, would you yet grow through what you must survive? Gratitude to Thea for finding life amongst what is so often stepped on underestimated and misnamed. Honor to Thea for listening to the loudness in the small. Praise to Thea for the magnitude of this healing which is big enough for all of us." --Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity"When the wickedness and perfidiousness of humans and the vagaries and cruelties of fate create their wreckage in us, it seems prudent to describe the results in terms of the delicacies of flowers. This is what Thea Matthews has done in this, her intelligent and magnificent debut collection.

The festering swamp has been drained and concreted over and between the cracks grows a wild orchid. Thea writes about this wild orchid. The poet classifies traumata via a taxonomy of flowers: calyx, pistil, stamen and filament. Sometimes when the deaths and sufferings are too much to bear, the eye can only lock on to something of beauty in order to survive. In her poetic study of the flowers, Matthews shows us that we can accept that the creative force that made the flowers also made the hurricane, the tsunami, the volcano." --Natasha Dennerstein, author of Seahorse (Nomadic Press, 2017) and Turn and Face the Strange ( Norfolk Press, 2019).

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