After Houses

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Poetry for the Homeless by Claire Millikin
Introduction by Tara Betts
SEPT. 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-31-5 (eBook)
LCCN: 2014930044



SKU: AF052014 Categories: , Tags: , , , , , , , , Product ID: 5041


AFTER HOUSES is an extended meditation on homelessness. In unflinching, raw poetry, poet Claire Millikin explores states of homelessness, and a longing for, even a devotion to, houses—houses as spaces where one could be safe and at ease. The poems move through an American landscape, between the South and the North, between childhood and adulthood, reaching toward a home that’s never reached, but always at one’s fingertips. Throughout the collection, Millikin draws from personal and family history, from classical mythology and architectural theory, to shape a poetry of empathy, in which some of the places where people get lost in America are faced and given place. AFTER HOUSES echo the voices of girls who have not quite survived, but who persist, intact in the way that Rimbaud insists on intactness, in words. Cover photo: Gary Baller, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, Copyright © 2007.

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Author Bio


CLAIRE MILLIKIN is a professor, scholar, and the author of several collections of poetry, including the chapbook The Gleaners (2013), her first poetry collection, Museum of Snow (2013), Television (2016); and two poetry collections with 2Leaf Press, After Houses (2014) and Tartessos and Other Cities (2016). Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines. Her recent scholarly works (published under Claire Raymond) include The Posthumous Voice in Women’s Writing from Mary Shelley to Sylvia Plath (2016),  Francesca Woodman’s Dark Gaze: The Diazotypes and Other Late Works (2016), Witnessing Sadism in Texts of the American South: Women, Specularity, and the Poetics of Subjectivity (2014), and Francesca Woodman and the Kantian Sublime (2010). Millikin currently teaches Art History and Sociology as a Lecturer at University of Virginia.


TARA BETTS is a poet, professor and activist. She is the author of the chapbooks Can I Hang? (1999), Switch (2003), Break the Habit (2012), Circling Unexpectedly (2013), and Arc & Hue (2010), her debut poetry collection. She appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and in the Black Family Channel series SPOKEN with Jessica Care Moore. Betts has also performed in plays, has competed in the National Poetry Slam, has worked as a freelance writer for several contemporary publications, and her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, literary magazines and anthologies. Over the years she has donated her time to several nonprofit organizations and in 2010, Essence Magazine named her as one of their “40 Favorite Poets.” A Cave Canem graduate, Betts received her MFA in Poetry from New England College with residencies from Ragdale Foundation, Centrum and Caldera, and an Illinois Arts Council Artist fellowship; and her BA in Communication at Loyola University, Chicago. Betts, a former lecturer in creative writing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English/Creative Writing at SUNY Binghamton.

Press Kit

Download high-resolution photos, book covers, author bios, book information sheets and press releases. Please use photo credits where indicated. Right click on photos and book covers to “save as,” and download PDFs. For more information, contact Gabrielle David at gdavid [AT] 2leafpress [DOT] org.

PHOTO CREDIT: Elizabeth Hogeman


What People Are Saying

Claire Millikin writes with deep feeling, craft, and delicacy about trauma; she makes obsessive, careful music—in the manner of Joseph Cornell’s sublime work—from her repeated divinations of foreclosed and melancholy vistas. An astute critic as well as a scrupulous and admirably driven poet, she combines formal élan and emotional intensity. I think of her poems as following in the noble, painful tradition of Maurice Blanchot—language reaching toward silence. .

— Wayne Koestenbaum
Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York Graduate Center
author of Blue Stranger With Mosaic Background

As Claire Millikin puts it in the final poem of her After Houses, Poetry for the Homeless, “This is a book of escape & survival.” Memory here does more than talk, it sings through eloquently detailed poems about exile from a beloved house, about “crossing thresholds” in cars with a baby, about growing older. Although all of us readers’ lives differ, this book can also be shared as “our history. Don’t turn away.” .

— Henry Braun, poet and peace activist
author of Loyalty, New and Selected Poems

Claire Millikin’s deeply perceptive and elegiac poems remind us that the words we use to define the world are the same words that define our losses. Acknowledging the perilous journey of human survival, these poems teach us that “the four walls of/ a house may vanish if/ we do not define it.” Both lush with language and haunting, After Houses is a work of uncanny beauty. .

— Kathleen Ellis
author of Vanishing Act


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