||Teresa Leo is the author of two books of poetry, Bloom in Reverse (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) and The Halo Rule (Elixir Press, 2008), winner of the Elixir Press Editors' Prize.
About Bloom in Reverse
Bloom in Reverse chronicles the aftermath of a friend's suicide and the end of a turbulent relationship, working through devastation and loss while on a search for solace that spans from local bars to online dating and beyond to ultimately find true connection and sustaining love. Things move backwards, from death to life, like a reverse time-lapse video of a dead flower morphing from brittle, scorched entity to floral glory to nacsent bud. The poems seek to find those places where the natural world connects to and informs experiences at the core of human relationships, and at times call upon principles and theories from physics and mathematics to describe the complexities of love and loss. It's a book where grief, melancholy, heartbreak, and disillusionment intersect with urban romanticism, hope, possibility, and love. Bloom is all of it, the terrible and the beautiful.
"Clarity of feeling and insight still fight the battle for 'hipness' in American poetry, but Teresa Leo makes a large cut into the cold caverns of conceptualism by chronicling a friend’s suicide in a way that feels breathless and moving. Such amplitude and precision masterfully locate love and grief, making Bloom in Reverse a new frontier for being in the world and surviving."
"The nobility of Teresa Leo’s poems is that they are not disposed to hide from the dark—rather, they display a mind that tends toward obsession and brooding, that works against fatality like fingers at a knot. The firm, attentive mind on display and the lucid unfolding of the poems are the life instinct seeking and finding its way through again and again. Love and beauty are the argument, but they don’t win easily. Bloom in Reverse works through elegy toward survival with moving persistence, both driven and compelling."
"Teresa Leo’s Bloom in Reverse remembers a friend lost too soon, attempts to 'disremember' a callous lover, and emerges beautiful and wise, with unexpected, true connection. Couplets, haiku, fragments, and a sestina shape the elegiac fury and grief surrounding loss and obsession, each deepening and sometimes reversing memory. These poems serve as an honest homage to female camaraderie, as well as the sly and unpredictable nature of romantic love. Leo’s voice is honest and mesmerizing, both social—Tilt-A-Whirl and Skee-Ball and online dating—and inward—trapped inside a house for a month with only a wretched fly. She is a passionate and profoundly lyrical storyteller."
Order Bloom in Reverse
Library Journal, "What’s Coming for National Poetry Month in April - 28 Key Titles To Consider " November 2013, reviewed by Barbara Hoffert
Cleaver Magazine, January 2014, reviewed by Anna Strong
Fox Chase Review, February 2014, reviewed by G Emil Reutter
Book Cover Art: Jimmy Wright, Sage, 2001. Oil on linen, 54 x 42 inches.