Rusted Bells and Daisy Baskets


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Eliot said, “all time is eternally present,” and Andrea Panzeca proves it with an atomic bang or maybe a rocket blast into the heavens. In these delirious poems she marries a jazzy present with memory and dreams and comes up with a wild poetic cocktail that will make you word drunk and ready to take off to places unknown. A glorious debut!

Barbara Hamby, Guggenheim fellow and author of On the Street of Divine Love: New and Selected Poems

Grounded in marginal coastal worlds, Andrea Panzeca’s wonderful debut collection is both bold and modest, intimate and unpredictable, free and full. Even its elegies—for loved people and moist land—brim with life. Surely yet invisibly crafted, these poems fall creatively down their pages, as their speaker does into the Gulf’s waves, their energy immense, original, and right.

Randy Bates, author of Dolphin Island and Rings: On the Life and Family of Collis Phillips

Andrea Panzeca’s Rusted Bells and Daisy Baskets concerns territories in flux — the coasts of Louisiana and Florida and the liminal spaces of memory and dream. The book is an elegy for pre-Katrina New Orleans and the poet’s father who appears “Glock / in one hand, the remote in the other — changes / the station from White Oleander to white noise.“ While the debut’s dramatic situation invokes the Southern Gothic tradition, its readers encounter a distinctive way of seeing this world. Likewise, through recognizable poetic kinds — prayer, self-portrait, ekphrastic poem, among others — Panzeca “tell[s] it slant”; her birthday poem, “On Turning 30,” addresses a stolen library book, Isadore Duncan’s My Life. But it is the unsettling imagery, consummate sonics, the fierce conscience of Panzeca’s book that brings us the “news that stays news.”

Carolyn Hembree, author of Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague and Skinny

The swerving mind in Andrea Panzeca’s poems might just be capacious enough to swallow the world whole. How astonishing, then, in Rusted Bells and Daisy Baskets for the granularity of real life in its many sidedness and frilly fractures to be not so much consumed raw as restored anew. Biography becomes puzzle pieces; colonial art stands naked; the Blind Boys of Alabama rub up against the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. This poet’s brainwaves, as generous and complex as the American histories it lovingly evokes, makes me dizzy with pleasure.

Adam Fitzgerald, author of The Late Parade and director of The Home School