Ceremonial by Carly Joy Miller


Winner of the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize, selected by Carl PhillipsIn her debut poetry collection, Carly Joy Miller surprises and enraptures on every page. The visceral poems of Ceremonial figure the body at its most sublime and at its most feral, with equal attention. With an unflinching eye, Miller crafts psalms of petition and praise from the raw material of life.The poems of Ceremonial disturb in such a way as to make us entirely rethink who we...

Details Ceremonial

Release DateMay 1st, 2018
PublisherOrison Books

Reviews Ceremonial

  • Ruth
    I love the wildness of these poems. CEREMONIAL hums with bee-song and salt, whispered invocations and shoulder blades and the heat of stars. Carly Joy Miller is an original and unforgettable voice. I’ll be thinking about these poems for a long, long time.
  • Brandon Amico
    Miller has a way of sliding images down the tumbling ramp of syntax, thoughts and pictures morphing fluidly from one to the next, that should be studied in poetry classrooms throughout the English-speaking world. An inventive, affecting, unbridled debut.
  • John Taylor
    My goodness I love this book. Ceremonial is a trove of writing which engages the sensual and the spiritual: where the body intersects with music, with pain, with God. These poems are frenetic and clear-eyed. To Miller, anything can be a verb, anything can be made to move."A kiss quicks a valley / of thirst, and Lord, never / let them thirst. / Must I saint / myself at the altar / of your thighs..."from "Ceremonial Psalm"I highly recommend this co...
  • Terry
    It's too facile to connect Miller's poems with fairy tales...still, there are elements of unexplained-blood-spilled-in-misty,-silent-woods, etc. etc. Miller's poetry reminds me quite a bit of Patricia Lockwood's. Both have an evasive quality tied to themes and images of the sensuality and violence (and blood) of sex. There are a few repetitive images in this collection, but that just adds to that haunting drumbeat of dread just below the surface....
  • Ben Taylor
    This collection of poems is alive, haunted, and haunting. Miller commemorates the war over bodies between the sacred and profane, her speakers often caught somewhere in the midst—protesting, pulsing, participating. “My nakedness is nothing holy,” Miller writes, and throughout Ceremonial all that is divine are small moments lifted high before “ceremonies bitter.” Suspense drives these devotionals to the human, blurring the way a body bec...