Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth


oil painting showing the back of a girl with red hair with a black background and a white bed cover she is sitting on
Girl. by Anastasia DiFonzo is a study in coming of age within the constraints and freedoms of femininity. DiFonzo walks readers through her own experience of girlhood, both directly and from the perspective of historical female figures. In personifying abstract concepts such as “shame,” DiFonzo reveals her personal experience. However, Girl. does not only approach femininity from the context of the author’s own story; rather, it invites that of her mother and late grandmother, coaxing out the result of generational and familial wounds on an individual under the oppressive force of feminine ideals. Beginning with the impact of her grandmother’s expectations on the author’s own sense of self and ending with the newfound bud of sexuality between girls, Girl. encapsulates what it means to be socialized female in a world that makes being a girl — and even a woman — a vulnerable and yet deeply soft and tender state. But no book is complete without having been able to hold multiple conflicting truths at once. At the very same time as the vulnerability, softness, and tenderness come through in Girl., so does a profound strength, and at times, even anger. How could we expect anything less? To be born a girl is to be born into a life of violence, be it physical, emotional, or both. We are told to hate ourselves, and at some point, it is only natural that such hatred be focused outward. In the end, though, the author creates her own peace as a woman and girl.
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Girl. by Anastasia DiFonzo is an incisive meditation on femininity, beauty, and violence that both beget. Each poem arrives as its own sort of mirror –– a mirror that the author either confronts, shrouds, smashes, or, most intensely–places the reader in front of, demanding they peer deeply, and discover the hidden parts of themselves in the cracked glass. 

In her second poetry chapbook, Anastasia DiFonzo deftly unravels and reforms our understandings of desire, shame, generational wounds, and bodily identity. Much like the actual lived experience of girlhood for so many, Girl. is both jagged and soft, aggrieved yet full of longing. 

Anastasia DiFonzo’s raw and unflinching poems are not only poems of the body, but speak to the sometimes heartbreaking resiliency it takes to inhabit a body in girlhood through womanhood. DiFonzo’s collection holds a keen sense of awareness, an unwavering honesty, and a fierce attention to detail. These poems look you in the eye and do not look away.

Meet the Author

black and white photo pof woman looking to the right wearing a top with a bird graphic design

Anastasia DiFonzo is an Oakland-based poet. She is a three-time Best of the Net nominee, and her debut chapbook, A Certain Serenity, was published by Puna Press in April of 2022. When she’s not writing, she can be found having coffee with her cats.

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