Cover image for Milk / Dorothea Lasky.
Milk / Dorothea Lasky.

Publication Information:
Seattle : Wave Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
141 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Subject Term:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
811.6 LAS Book Adult General Collection

On Order



In her latest collection, Dorothea Lasky brings her signature style--a deeply felt and uncanny word-music--to all matters of creativity, from poetry and the invention of new language to motherhood and the production of new life. At once a personal document as it is an occult text--complete with the authors own occult drawings--,Milk investigates overused paradigms of what it means to be a creator and encapsulates its horrors and joys--setting fire to the enigma that drives the vital force that enables poems, love, and life to happen.

Author Notes

Dorothea Lasky is the author of five full-length collections of poetry:Milk(forthcoming, Wave Books, 2018), Rome (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2014), Thunderbird (Wave Books, 2012), Black Life (Wave Books, 2010), and AWE (Wave Books, 2007). She is also the author of several chapbooks, including: Snakes(Tungsten Press, 2017),Thing(Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2012),Matter: A Picturebook (Argos Books, 2012), The Blue Teratorn (Yes Yes Books, 2012), Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), Tourmaline (Transmission Press, 2008), The Hatmaker's Wife (2006), Art (H_NGM_N Press, 2005), and Alphabets and Portraits (Anchorite Press, 2004). Born in St. Louis in 1978, her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, MAKE magazine, Phoebe, POETRY, Poets & Writers Magazine, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Paris Review, and 6x6, among other places. She is the co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney's, 2013) and is a 2013 Bagley Wright Lecturer on Poetry. She holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania, is a graduate of the MFA program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and has been educated at Harvard University and Washington University. She has taught poetry at New York University, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts and lives in New York City.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Exhibiting her typically unabashed, rhythmic, and confessional style, Lasky (Rome) revels in both shadow and light as she writes through isolation, motherhood, and loss. At its best, Lasky's voice is hypnotically primal, resulting in inexplicable, yet palpable desire: "Do you want to soak/ The rat/ Completely/ In oil/ Before/ We eat it/ Eat it// You know you're such a mess/ In a red dress/ For you/ I'd take it raw." At other times these impulses translate into enigmas ("Eat turmeric because inflammation is/ And the cells, they keep spilling/ Or really, nothing more blank than your lifeforce/ Or the promise of it") or unrefined grievances ("You know social media/ Is bad for me/ People are too/ I am thirty-seven and still a child"). Though much of this work stems from the pain of interminable longing, Lasky reassures her readers-"I said it could be true/ That the sunny days do stick to walls/ And then enter you"-and delivers occasional bits of off-kilter humor: "When one is on the Internet/ In the middle of fear/ You can find a Mashable article/ About abandoned shopping malls." This is an emotionally enriching collection, and Lasky's euphonic displays of vulnerability may leave readers pleasantly dizzy. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.



Do you want to dip the rat Do you want to dip the rat Completely in oil Do you want to dip the rat Before we eat it eat it Do you want to dip the rat Completely in oil Before we eat it Tender tender meat Like pork shoulder 100 traps set 80 hanging in a row to be broiled With you I'd take it raw Tiny pink feet Glistening with oil Legs and feet Glistening with oil Matted fur and face Weighted down with oil Everything in oil But the teeth are shiny clean No what I really want to know Before you open that mouth again Should we completely dip the rat in oil Before we eat it eat it Should we completely Dip the rat in oil Before we eat it Floral pattern I feel super needy today The worst part of admitting this Is that no one will care This the pattern I see When I close my eyes too quickly Not a pattern of being But a floral pattern from the 70s Yellows and oranges You know social media Is bad for me People are too I am 37 and still a child In my thinking about people So I avoid them entirely I smile But that's about it I'll never know anyone Ego dissolving Not anything I will never be anything But that's ok too What if anything On the beach the flowers are What wild What was ever wild He wrote the last thing I could be Not a relationship But in art He said what we were was art Not a need Not even an art need What is an art need So full of culture What is a cultus Coitus My silly sublime Bright turquoise palm flowers Over a magenta hue Palindrome in the night Asking me For my prediction And upon divination I said it was a great love in a museum No I meant me No I mean myself Darling all night I have been flickering off on off Heavy as a lecher's kiss The neon lights of the overlay The room that will always be timeless Not an intrapersonal concern But an art one The moon No door But a face in its own right My mind A bloodhound For oblivion Already in the house Answer your phone Call me Call me I will answer From inside your house Dripping my wares everywhere Answer me Was I really so unreposed Naked corpse So slowly working Answer me Was I really so Palindrome of shadow and light Not a thing of worth But a barmaid That's all you wanted In the lilac light Where I gave up My most sacred to you Without a second's thought And you answered the phone From another sphere Laughing Laughing at me Laughing Milk, No 2 I keep doing this past what is pointless I keep doing it past what is good I rise, and I am not sick anymore But you are sleeping, breath falling It is 8 am somewhere Maybe in LA Where my brother sleeps, fitfully In arms of sundress Maybe where my mother lived Her whole life and got the sun in her too I think back to what I was 10 years ago Maybe 20, the people Great Aunt Ida told me To live this one The dreams they say of men I paint their eyelids as always In what colors Of course, the greens I just keep making these things Past the point of what is normal I look for faces but the eyes are dead But when you look at me, I can't lie Baby, it's with love I never knew what it was to be this way But then again I never let myself be Cascade of ocean The beach was lost and dark The house was dark dark I went in, I wasn't scared It wasn't the going in the door that struck me It was the getting out, or even wandering What's behind the hidden doors Can I find a bed there Can I set up my electronic things Can I put this machine on It's my armor to protect you I have nothing You are in a glass house The fall of it Orange hearts one after the other My true love is sleeping I tell him, don't rest I swirl I find another Another with the moon He writes me letters, The sweet bees are for you Twenty-nine bees Like a beekeeper No it is the bees who are my lovers For them I am but a flower I enter the scene For the bees, I am magenta forever I enter the scene, not the house It's easy to be brave The house is not glass, it's plastic It's clear and hot I can see you, Flower I can see you simply Your head And it's bursting With colors no one knows about I can see you Animal You breathe And it's not to raise the dead I read, and it's to find the breathing I read to my baby About the things Milk, it connects Milk it is not cum A kind of off-white blood Not an aftereffect I squirt all over the sheets My lifeforce Not blood, but cum Milk is not what the air gives It is what you are You say you let yourself go Maybe you didn't Maybe you should squeeze out Everything you have My true love he is awakened By the flooding of it all Not blood but me When I leave I'll leave behind not this stain But this jewelry of being I'll put in a vial the frozen things My baby, you died before it all began Then you lived And lived longer I gave you all I had Who wouldn't This isn't a story you know This isn't an article, I'm sure I'm sure of it This isn't the going in This is what is out I squeeze and all the lifeforce I am not shell, or what I would have assumed I am snake again, and I can make it a hundred times True love you sleep on dark red sheets I bleed everywhere you drink me It is off-white and iron-filled We read love letters Written by the bees They write of black and blue flowers They are bursting In ways we could not see You kiss me and I squeeze out the orange flowers In a clear house we and the pansies Butterflies and bees Blood red milk It's drinkable You drink me And I am no longer me But lifeforce Blood and bones Peach Peaches, and the palm trees The sun, the beach Blood red bees That when I speak The burn Hot ash yellow flower In a clear house Baby when you breathe I can feel you sleeping All alone, darkening rose I rise, no longer me No, once I thought it was over I didn't go in I went out Arrows going away from the center Not quarterly, but to see Ash is not cum Blood red cum, milking Breathing milk, breathing bees Blood red bee He flew Into the hothouse flower It was clear It was not to cum Yellow pansy It was to see I feel the heavy I feel the heavy feeling Of being in the dead man's room I feel it too All I have done and not War-torn Birth-torn Into the night They sought from me I can't even imagine What my ancestors endured All for what So I go and buy an island The mosquito buzzes around me It seeks me It seeks thee Me Ghosts, I know you seek me I seek you You I seek, too Bees, I am a walking Flower goddess Goodbye, I said to the air, the sky Heavy heavy You are heavy In my arms, The sky said to me I know I am, Said the bee Excerpted from Milk by Dorothea Lasky All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.