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Cover of Tooth Box by Jenny Irish
November 2021
Spuyten Devil

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Tooth Box

Jenny Irish

According to Jessica Cuello, author of "Liar": "'Tooth Box' tells of a girlhood familiar to many — a girlhood of strange cruelties and the ever-present threat of violence. Irish writes with a mesmerizing attention to detail and a gift for the startling and uncanny. The girl in these sensuous poems wanders through a dark fairytale-esque world, alert to being taken, cut, punctured and eaten: 'to expect care from no one.' It's one of the few poetry books I've read that accurately captures the tender but brutal relationships between girls. Written with a fluid, dreamlike beauty, it is 'a story built from the sticks and bleached and brittle bones of a truth ... about girls who ... become animals to save themselves.'"


Jenny Irish is an assistant professor in the Department of English's creative writing program at ASU.

Praise for this book

"In the title poem of this stunning collection, a tooth box is described as a 'fragile capsule for caging time.' The same could be said — could it not? — of a poem, yet these poems and prose pieces are not fragile capsules — they are stones sharpened to points; they are stories that burst open like our spiral galaxy, growing larger and larger with each turn. ... 'Tooth Box' is unflinching, unforgettable."

Gayle Brandeis
Author of "Many Restless Concerns"

"What does Jenny Irish’s 'Tooth Box' hold? A rabid girlhood of hybrid understanding, a quiet body yearning to express itself, and a wilderness of adults with mixed intentions. This book is stunning in its ability to move through and across form as a means to best express childhood discovery and trauma. Leaving readers wondering, where is my tooth box? What secret selves does my tooth box hold? Inventive, gut-wrenching, and full of strength, Irish’s work is in a category of its own."

Natalie Scenters-Zapico
Author of "Lima :: Limón"