Cover 7Bullies in Love

by Jendi Reiter

($18.95, paperback, 120 pages, with 8 beautiful color photographs by Toni Pepe)

Winner of the Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize 2013



“How can one voice be so raw and so refined? How can a poet so fiercely female speak more universally than those who deny our differences? The electrifying paradoxes of art and life snap from every page here as Reiter names the driving forces of her life—our lives.”

Nancy White, administrator of The Word Works Washington Prize, author of Detour (Tamarack Editions, 2010).

“Bitter, tender, contained, full of pain and hilarity, this fiercely intelligent collection begins with one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read. ‘Inconsolable joy,’ Reiter writes to her newborn son. ‘Motherless, I mother.’ Within this grace all questions resolve: ‘Each glinting wavelet a day of my history,/washing my hands as I lose it.’ The history to be known and released includes childhood abuse, and cruelties both familial and social…In these poems, theology becomes concrete and passionate.”

Ruth Thompson, author of Woman with Crows (Saddle Road Press, 2013), A Room of Her Own Foundation “To the Lighthouse” Prize Finalist

“Jendi Reiter’s astute observations of the complex nature of love reveal not only its beauty but also its damning consequences. From the child to the adult, the home to the wider world, this collection of affirming yet disturbing tight-knit poetry in various forms kaleidoscopes vivid images, framing the struggle to free oneself from parental and societal expectations from start to finish. These poems span the coming-of-age search for self-respect and love; the ideologies of marketing and religion; teachers’ censorship of children’s literature; and political crimes against sexual minorities.”

Suzanne Covich, child rights activist and educator, author of When We Remember They Call Us Liars (Fremantle Press, 2012)

“Lyric, narrative, prose poem…in all her work Jendi Reiter is constantly innovating, injecting her lines with fresh, sharp language and taut, piercing images which yes, surprise, exhilarate, and delight, but also force the reader to rethink their relationships to social forces. The nature of love and desire are here, but so are family, faith, the body, the natural world, pop culture…even a few stray cats. Jendi explores these as both priestess and stand-up comedian, deploying reverence and humor (sometimes at the same time), and gazing upon whimsy and atrocity with equal scrutiny.”

Charlie Bondhus, author of All the Heat We Could Carry (Main Street Rag, 2013), 2014 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry

“Beyond her impressive verbal pyrotechnics, there’s an invigorating way of making unexpected connections, as in this from one of my favorite poems, ‘What Dora Said to Agnes’: ‘When a man undresses a woman/he is unfolding a letter/he expected would be addressed to him…’ and in the same poem: ‘When a woman undresses a man/she is promising to wash him,/she is offering the hand that will close his eyes.’ Reiter’s uncommon insights into love, partnering, sorrow, death and new ways of living, together and apart, will inspire and comfort the fellow traveler, the reader, you.”

Robert McDowell, author of Poetry as Spiritual Practice and The World Next to This One;

“In her remarkable collection of poems, Bullies In Love, Jendi Reiter has created an complex odditorium of characters with unique and often disturbing voices: poems peopled with bullies, the disenfranchised, monsters, prostitutes, criminals, the abused and forgotten, all searching for meaning, for faith and love in a postmodern, often cynical world.”

Pamela Uschuk, author of Crazy Love, 2010 American Book Award Winner, and Blood Flower (Wings Press)



Interview by Trish Thopkinson:

Interview with Jendi Reiter, V.P. of Winning Writers and author of a new book of poems Bullies in Love

Review by Carol Smallwood:




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