Monsoon Solo

Cinematography, Editing and Sound Mix: Eve Cuyen at Harlem Pictures
Music: Kevin MacLeod
Cover Photography: 85 Photo Productions
Cover Design: Julie Metz Design

In Monsoon Solo, psychological undercurrents are explored with the speed and ferocity of the Mississippi River, that vast artery that cuts through America’s heartland. These poems travel—from the river’s muddy banks to roadside motels; from buses packed with after-schoolers to rush-hour-congested commuter trains; and from desolate alleys to city streets teeming with lap dogs, trash cans and newsstands.

The poems’ speakers, even when in a crowd, are alone. They harbor secrets. Like hungry ghosts, they feed on the unspoken, grapple with the stuff of nightly news: sex, death and other people’s money. Haunted by the past, they tell urgent stories.



Praise for Monsoon Solo

“Gretl Claggett writes very exact and graceful poems that explore the dark corners of life. This is not nice poetry. It’s powerful work that sticks in the head long after reading.”
– Stephen Dobyns

“Searing stuff. The poet’s people are identified at defining times of their lives. Monsoon Solo is a real page-turner. The reader has to know what happens next in these vivid dramas.”
– Robert Minhinnick

“With a rare combination of boldness and grace, Gretl Claggett writes her luminous poems. Her uncanny emotional intelligence and unerring sense of drama guide her lines toward metaphorical richness and psychological revelation. For those of us who turn to poetry for the startling surprise, for the luxury of image, for a whole landscape in a handful of lines, Claggett is the poet to read and cherish.”
– Molly Peacock

“Gretl Claggett’s poems are at once drawn irresistibly to the human world—to its ardors and longings, its terrible accidents and violence—and shocked and stunned by it. The fullness of their moral power stems from the ability this poet has to stand at the center of exquisite, dangerous tension and not turn away, not draw back in fear, not flinch.”
– Vijay Seshadri

“The poems in this collection are brave, strong and beautifully crafted. Gretl Claggett has an eye for the resonant, suggestive image and a rare ability to tell a story in lines. There’s a rightness of both rhythm and tone that’s imperative to these searing poems, with their mordant wit and wisdom, their inward and outward transformation. Monsoon Solo will capture an audience that likes its poetry vital and necessary.”
– Stuart Dischell

About the Author

Gretl Claggett is a writer, speaker, consultant and activist with a mission to help others create more authentic lives. She holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA in nonfiction from Goucher College and an MFA in theater from Western Illinois University. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in many journals, anthologies, and in on-line publications such as Head ButlerThe Daily Beast, The Nervous Breakdown, She Writes and The Good Men Project. She’s a regularly featured reader and speaker in New York City; she’s been headlined at venues in London and Cambridge; and she performed her poetry at the 2012 Spoleto Festival. Gretl teaches an ongoing memoir class at the 92nd Street Y, and she’s currently working on a short film and a novel.

Read a review of Monsoon Solo on Head Butler.

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