poet, photographer, activist


by Paola Corso

(Cavan Kerry Press, 2014

​Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing

  Binghamton University Milt Kessler Book Award Finalist  

  Fore Word Magazine’s Poetry Book of the Year Finalist   

"Paola Corso’s laundress is hard-working, chain- smoking, grouchy and smart, memorably imperfect and entirely winning. The book is stylistically varied and ingenious. ‘Hold for Ten Seconds’ is a sort of magical realist sequence that involves washing clothes—maybe the first since 100 Years of Solitude. And the long, astonishing ‘Heiress to Air’ is brilliant, a moving tour de force that William Carlos Williams would certainly have loved.” —JEFF GUNDY, Bluffton University, Tillie Olsen Award Contest Judge  

"Paola Corso's The Laundress Catches Her Breath focuses like a Leica on the details of daily urban working class life from a fiercely rendered narrative perspective. Pioneering a mode of tough yet poignant documentary verse, Corso draws us into the grainy, grimy world of factory and clothesline, diner and lung disease and filthy water with extraordinary skill. Her collection is in fact breathtaking." —SANDRA M. GILBERT, author of Belongings

"This is a song of lament for all labor and the earth made outrageous with a magical imagination. It is a crazy, gorgeously-crafted romance of the American worker. And just the thing for these evil times. Good job, Paola Corso!"—JULIA KASDORF, author of Poetry in America

"In The Laundress Catches Her Breath, Paola Corso takes us inside the world of the union card and the steel mill. This daughter of Pittsburgh recalls the black smoke that filled the skies of the city, how it breeds a tough voice. Corso reminds us that what we breathe in is what we breathe out—as she writes the nature of work." —JAN BEATTY, author of Red Sugar

“Corso empathetically but unsentimentally depicts the life of a woman in a luckless mill town.” —BILL O'DRISCOLL, The City Paper

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