Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Moonlight and Monsters by Lauren Scharhag

Cover art is “The Parade” by Sara Dell

In Moonlight and Monsters  the poems move between wonder and fairy-tale, earth and sky, fire and things that go bump in the night. Scharhag has given birth to wondrous monsters and dances with fearful delight in the moonlight. These poems entrance and wrap you up. Open the pages and enter a world of Lauren’s creation. You will want to stay awhile.



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In Moonlight and Monsters, Lauren Scharhag dives into the spectral pools of everyday and brings us “rainbows embedded in grackle darkness.” And when she dives, she brings the whole flaming, gutted church to its knees to feed "…creatures that some call pests and some call mischief, some call God.” She guides us into the echoing velvet hallways of her Hispanic heritage and we are mauled by the nagual, we drown with La Llorona, we fall under the spell of ambergris-scented brujas. She leads us expertly with her prayers through her sorrows through transmutation into a kind of flashing hope in the ashes, and we cannot save ourselves from being burned clean from the cinders. We willingly follow because “In order to emerge, one must be swallowed whole.” Scharhag has birthed a breathing singing thing in this collection, and we feel her labor and tearing of skin, as she explains, “the agony of creation is inescapable.” And what she has brought to life is as miraculous as it is rare.

These poems exist somewhere between the world of fairy-tale and a woman at a kitchen counter slicing salami with an old Windows XP disc. Scharhag writes with unsettling intimacy, teetering between the unconscious and that place where we wear jungle air like wet silk. She invites us into the extended night of the tomb where men are just beasts in textiles, where words flicker, illuminate and delight. It’s hard chasing shadows in these well-lit times, but if we allow ourselves, however briefly, to see the world through Scharhag’s eyes, the portal might just open to let in all that tremulous beauty and wonder.

Lauren Scharhag writes about people and the facets of psyche that knit them together. A true collector, she hordes the bits and pieces and puts them on display in her poetry. As she herself says in "Hair Work," this collection spins many parts into a cohesive unit "like spider silk, connecting the living and the living, and the living with the dead." Digging deep, Scharhag unearths the vital that runs through us, finding us where we are, and as we are. Here lies a poet's heart, bruised but still beating.

Meet the Author

Lauren Scharhag (she/her) is an award-winning author of fiction and poetry, and a senior editor at Gleam. Her titles include seven poetry collections. The latest, Midnight Glossolalia (with Scott Ferry and Lillian Necakov) is now available from Meat for Tea Press. She has received multiple Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Rhysling Award nominations. She lives in Kansas City, MO.

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