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Why Can't It Be Tenderness

Winner of the Felix Pollak Prize
in Poetry

University of Wisconsin Press, forthcoming November 2018

available for preorder from Amazon here

Strikes just the right, clear note to place in the register of memorable debuts. Rosado's terrific new poems are salve and honey, even when the subjects of breaking and coming apart are at their beautiful core. Listen to the brilliant music of these pages.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, contest judge

Exhilarating, tactile poems―embodied, rich and full. Michelle Brittan Rosado is a visionary architect building and following interior maps within intricate landscapes, creating luminous revelation and deep calm. A book like this gives you your life back.
Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Voices in the Air

The sense of a divided homeland―California and Malaysia―first splits then doubles the impassioned focus of these precisely crafted, complexly braided meditations on the self and family inheritance. Psychologically searing and yet always resonant with the world's pleasures, these poems unfold as an album of belated and tender homecomings.
David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems

An intimate book that draws the world inside its discoveries, both ordinary and extraordinary. Each poem offers us miracles by which we persist beyond the surface of language itself. Luminous in craft and intelligence, here is an original voice that questions, and ultimately celebrates, the profound wonder of our survival.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths, author of Lighting the Shadow


Theory on Falling into a Reef

Winner of the inaugural
Rick Campbell Prize

Anhinga Press, 2016

available for purchase through the publisher here

I don’t ever want to leave these poems. I want to live with their intimacy and proximity of memory and body. The brilliant craft and gorgeous precision of these poems is affirming and calls the reader back again and again, like great poems do. Michelle Brittan Rosado writes about longing and belonging, what is broken and whole. Here is a poet and person coming into her own graceful voice, through a “scattering of broken blooms,” perched at the “edge of something that could alter the whole sky.” I recommend Theory on Falling into a Reef with utmost enthusiasm and love.
Lee Herrick, author of Gardening Secrets of the Dead

In her poems Michelle Brittan Rosado engages us in the process of unearthing and integrating the variegated, sometimes conflicting, and ultimately unknowable threads of her complex personal and cultural history. Rosado's speaker ferries us between a colonized, multiethnic Borneo and California’s suburbia as she attempts to make meaning of who she is and what’s shaped her: distant relatives and a language she doesn’t understand; otherness and isolation; the wildly different yet comforting landscapes of the Central Valley and the Malaysian rain forest; the tender frontier of committed love. In the end, she makes a “home” in art—that liminal space where her disparate worlds meet and where she continues her work of transformation: “At any moment // I can never tell if I’m disappearing // into myself, or at the edge / of something that could alter // the whole sky.” My lived experience is deepened by these compassionate and insightful poems.
Mari L'Esperance, author of The Darkened Temple