top of page


by Elise Ficarra, winner of the 2005 MRBA


"Exploratory in form yet ultimately grounded in, and devoted to, everyday experience, Elise Ficarra's Swelter seeks to rescue the lyric during the latest war's assault on our senses. This visually, linguistically, and thematically layered book opts for insinuation over direct statement, parataxis over smooth transition, and openness over closure—its surfaces are as striking as the messages within."

- Brian Henry


"These brilliant and engaging poems do double time as the world's most innovative and advanced Ouija board. My eyes and hands move through them with wonder and awe, the precision-crafted pages yielding insights and answers to pressing questions I didn't know to ask before. I am thrilled to learn that poetry can be so delicate yet anchored, so winged yet soul-searchingly intelligent, that attuned imagination constructs revelations."

- Stacy Doris


"Cut out of figures of beauty, desire, innocence, the voices here, whispers, confessions, statements, accusations undercut each other, exposing invisible scars, scripts under scripts, a palimpsest of mythic signs addressing violations and stigmas daily undergone and untold."

- Benjamin Hollander


Elise Ficarra's work has appeared in Bird Dog, Commonweal, Fourteen Hills, Small Town, Transfer and other journals. She was awarded the Academy of American Poets Harold Taylor College Prize in 2004. She is a contributor to Hinge a BOAS anthology of eight Bay Area experimental women writers (Crack Press, 2002). Her first chapbook, Onslaught Beings, was made in 2002. She lives in San Francisco where she has worked for a number of years as the business manager of The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives.

bottom of page