Feminism / Lit / Staff Picks

Life Cycle By Dena Rash Guzman

Dena rash guzman Life Cycle

Guzman’s “Life Cycle”

Dena Rash Guzman’s first book of poems is Life Cycle, out now from Dog on a Chain Press.  Dena is not only a great poet, a bold feminist and a great editor, but she’s also a greatly  genuine and good-hearted woman.

Her work is comical, sensual, hearty and nourishing (and that’s not just because there’s a poem about Warhol’s Campbell Soup).

What I enjoy about Life Cycle, is that I read it one sitting, like a meal. This is rare in the world of poetry.  Some poems are meaty and need time to be broken down and digested.  Other poems need a good cooling off.  Some poems upset the stomach, and need time and care before they can be read again.

Dena was a Facebook friend of mine for some time, and so she was not a so-called, REAL friend.  Our meeting,  this past July in Portland, on my West Coast Book Tour for my first book of poems, Domestic Uncertainties, was a truly wonderful experience as it taught me three things.

One:  There are some great female poets out there.

Two:  The friendship between female writers truly is important and necessary.

Three:  Some people really are as warm and friendly as they appear to be online.  (and did I mention pretty?)

I know. It’s a not right to praise a woman for their intellect, their talent and then go ahead and to top it off by admiring their looks. Women can flatter other women and you know what, they should! 


Here’s two of my favorite poems, from her newest book, and may I add, a bestseller at Powells.

Life Cycle

an itch somewhere – on a cheek,

a breastbone, elbow or thigh

these are places of instigation,

where the orders between

our desires and our futures

break down, where the heart

gets under our skin and a sense

of pain sets in to hopeful avail

everybody has an itch, or ought to,

for only the itches and the yielding

to them, to their needs, and the way they careen,

can teach us to care enough for our own hands.

Life Cycle

Faith is the space

between the flesh of a peach

and the knife.

Faithlessness: a slice

of skin, not peach.


Dena Rash Guzman is an American author, poet, editor, born in Las Vegas, Nevada 3/8/72. Founding Editor literary journal Unshod Quills. Poetry Editor, The Nervous Breakdown. Founder of Old Heavy Press; first print title for release in 2013, a chapbook about David Bowie by Seattle author Jenny Hayes. Poetry Editor and Managing Director at HAL Publishing, Shanghai’s independent English language literary journal and small press. Former co-producer for Unchaste Readers, Portland’s only live reading series focusing solely on the work of female writers. Coproducer, Shanghai Tunnels International Video Poetry Competition, 2012. Follow her on Twitter at @DRG and read more at http://www.denarashguzman.com


Leah Umansky’s first collection of poems, Domestic Uncertainties is out now from BlazeVOX.  Her upcoming Mad Men Inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream is out from Kattywompus Press in early 2014. . She is also the host & curator of the COUPLET Reading Series in NYC. She has been a contributing writer for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBLOG and Tin House, a poetry reviewer for The Rumpus, and a live twit for The Best American Poetry Blog. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as: POETRY, Barrow Street, Catch-up, and The Brooklyn Rail. She loves supporting other poets, especially female poets like Dena Rash Guzman Read more here and follow her on Twitter: @Lady_Bronte

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