Jack Cooper, Production Editor at Poets Wear Prada, said “I am happy and proud to announce ‘The Key’ by Ice Gayle Johnson. It is profoundly beautiful: an unexpected turn of the lock. Hidden chambers of the heart lead from a girlhood kitchen to the panorama of windows that survive the woman's adult life. Its author already distinguished for her perspective gained through the camera lens and in fashioning the human head turns observant eye and scissor-hands to literary style.”
Johnson’s debut poetry collection shares her very personal experiences of love and loss, first the familial and then the romantic. The books begins with scenes from life with a mysterious, mysteriously well-educated father, lone survivor of Nazi tyranny in a Lithuanian town living out his days as a janitor in Chicago; a neurotic, often-abusive mother, rival for the father’s affection; and an older sibling, rival for the mother’s. Mother and daughter become estranged, reuniting shortly before the mother’s death. The book ends with a sequence of love poems recounting romances mostly broken but still treasured.
“The appeal of this book begins in its generosity as a memoir. The real-life scenes seem triggered by the discovery of a shoebox full of unsorted snapshots, the same moments seen again and again, different angle and lens -- out of focus, in focus, telescopic to panoramic. In fact, they are carefully selected and laid out on the kitchen table steadily to reveal ‘the big picture,’ as the author matures, accepting the truth about her family, her lovers and herself,” said Poets Wear Prada Publisher and Senior Editor Roxanne Hoffman.
Leni Zumas, author of “Farewell Navigator: Stories” (Open City, 2008) writes “These poems are raw, brave, and sometimes hilarious. Ice Gayle Johnson searches the hidden rooms of family history with a determined eye. From nuns to nightmares to cheesecake, she traces with great compassion the debris of haunted relationships.”
A founder and shaper of Uphook Press, Ice co-edited and contributed to its debut collection, “A Cautionary Tale: Peer into the Lives of Seven New York Performing Poets,” in 2008. Three other anthologies have followed: “you say. say.” (2009), “Hell Strung and Crooked” (2010), and “gape-seed”
Ice Gayle Johnson has performed her poetry, coast to coast -- from the Bowery Poetry Club in New York to The Beat Museum in San Francisco. Her spoken word tracks have been featured by Stay Thirsty Media and Poetz.com. Eponymous CD and DVD are available at CDbaby and at DVD.com.
“The Key: Lady Grizzly & Sir Charles Otter” by Ice Gayle Johnson (Hoboken: Poets Wear Prada, 2012), 42 pages, ISBN-10: 0615606512, ISBN-13: 978-0615606514, list price: $12.00, is available in paperback from Amazon Books and other popular booksellers.
Founded in 2006, Poets Wear Prada publishes beautifully designed, well-crafted poetry chapbooks from Sinatra’s hometown, the birthplace of professional baseball.