Landlocked

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Pub Date 01 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 07 Jul 2023

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Description

Lesbian bars, libraries, highways, churches, and oil rigs set the scenes for the poems in Landlocked. Whether at work or at play, the speakers in Landlocked live in the space between longing and belonging, wanderlust and homesickness, and explore the intersection of place and identity. In the era of “don’t say gay,” these poems provide a defiantly queer perspective on Oklahoma, one of the reddest of the red states, and its many contradictions.

Lesbian bars, libraries, highways, churches, and oil rigs set the scenes for the poems in Landlocked. Whether at work or at play, the speakers in Landlocked live in the space between longing and...


Advance Praise

With humor, grace, the perfectly placed earthbound image, and ineffable longing, Julia McConnell writes of “things that seem unbearable” in ways that make them bearable, glorious, necessary, true. These poems reawaken forgotten yearnings, and remind one of the complexities of love and loss, landscapes, and home. Julia McConnell is an important new voice in American poetry, and Landlocked is a stunning debut.

—Rilla Askew, author of Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place

Julia McConnell’s Landlocked teems with all the strange, violent, and glittering ephemera of America’s forgotten places. With precise language, thrilling music, and unforgettable images, “we are drilled into the interior” of romantic and dangerous landscapes. In these poems, the reader rides shotgun while our guide narrates her singular dream—a dream in which illness, Elizabeth Bishop, diner breakfast, and gay bars weave seamlessly along the highway shoulder. I can’t remember reading a debut so complex and self-assured. Landlocked proclaims the arrival of a major talent.

—Lisa Wells, author of The Fix

The poet’s sense of place as central to both personal and public narrative strikes powerful chords with this reader, as do the diction, images, management of white space, and formal choices made in creating and assembling this powerful collection.

—Thomas Lynch, author of National Book Award finalist The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade


With humor, grace, the perfectly placed earthbound image, and ineffable longing, Julia McConnell writes of “things that seem unbearable” in ways that make them bearable, glorious, necessary, true...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781611864571
PRICE $15.95 (USD)
PAGES 100

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Featured Reviews

Landlocked by Julia McConnell is a stunning poetry collection that pays homage to Oklahoma, in the sense that McConnell captures both what made this place home and how it became the place which made her realise she did not belong there.

McConnell's writing explores the complexities tied into place, particularly places of our formative years, and brilliantly demonstrates the dichotomy she experienced in Oklahoma. It was a place which nurtured with a thriving and comforting natural landscape, and it was a place of prejudice, racism, ignorance and homophobia. The speaker's torn response is palpable with every piece. There is no doubt of McConnell proving how something can be both cherished and let go.

"Exist in the in-between / enter a world unknown. unclipped word wings moving inside, / aware of the many angles of truth." [Graciela Says]

Particular favourites of mine were poems like 'An Education', which swiftly revealed the holes in our history, it being written by the victors and taught by those in power, being juxtaposed with poems like 'Boundless' which revealed our need for belonging, for home, and for the courage to discover it ourselves if the place we always called home is no longer a place to survive.

"Home is a loose tooth. / You still can't tell by looking / if the tide is coming in or going out." [On Why You Should Change Your Life Every Seven Years]

Finally, McConnell's poetic voice is also very refreshing, with the linguistic prowess of a writer well-versed in their craft, alongside a confessional tone which places the person, their thoughts and feelings, at the centre of every piece.

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An absolutely gorgeous collection! This bridges the land between Midwestern and Southern Gothic, and I loved the overt and rich metaphors. Queerness is entwined throughout every environment and description in the most beautiful way, with intense humanity and honesty.

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Unapologetic and brutal in its honesty, Landlocked holds a mirror and dares you to see anything except exactly what hurts the worst: prolonged longing and sitting out of place until both burrow like a splinter.

Through the wild, wide vistas and intimate vignettes, McConnel’s work is immediate and visceral, keeping readers grounded with cutting, insightful language. There is something both carnal and spiritual happening within Landlocked and there’s no safety net: you see and feel so deeply, it can’t be ignored.

A staggering collection, McConnel’s Landlocked will be a steadfast favorite that follows you around long after you’ve put it down.

Thank you NetGalley, Michigan State University Press, and Wheelbarrow Books for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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