“Being barefoot is always worth it,” concludes one of Charissa Menefee’s young narrators about the risk posed by needles on the floor of a beloved grandmother’s sewing room. Like many of the other spare, evocative poems in When I Stopped Counting, this poem advocates embracing experience rather than shying away from it. Portraying vivid scenes of womanhood and survival—the young girl learning to handle a shotgun, the mother laboring with her third child, the grandmother dreaming in her wheelchair—Menefee poignantly underscores the value of counting loves and possibilities rather than counting losses and lacks.
--Sheila Sanderson, Author of Keeping
Even and OK by Me, Editor of Alligator
When I Stopped Counting is now available from Finishing Line Press, your favorite independent bookseller (such as Plot Twist, Page and Palette, Changing Hands, and Peregrine Book Company), Books-a-Million, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
The poems in When I Stopped Counting employ a complex and conscious form of nostalgia, sifting memories and distilling them into a potent tonic which questions typical assumptions regarding gender and class. At the same time, Menefee’s imagery polishes the ordinary losses inherent in passing time into startling brilliance. Clever but never easy, these poems often build to stunning turns. Like the grandmother dreaming of sewing in one poem, Menefee is “feeding the fabric, / the stitches linking deftly as she turns the cloth at / precisely the right moment—a perfect corner.” This work, “tangled in neurons, / quietly scratching,” continues to resonate long after you’ve turned the final page.
--Julie Hensley, Author of Viable, Landfall, and The Language of Horses
"The Poet Parents" in Plainsongs
"Hovering," "Alien," and "Entrances and Exits" in Switchgrass (forthcoming)
"Tiny Portraits of Men" in Pirene's Fountain
"Get the Story," Rose's Missing Diaries," and "These Might Be the Gloves" in Footnote
"To a Young Mother" and "Sentry" in Missed Calls and Other Poetry (forthcoming)
"Future Stores" and
"The Poet Ponders Porridge" in The Wild Word
"I am trying to remember when you remembered me"
in The 2016 Hippocrates Prize Anthology
"The Art of Medicine: Poetry, Medicine, and the International Hippocrates Prize." Donald RJ Singer & Michael Hulse, The Lancet.
“The Poet Parents” in Plainsongs
“Tiny Portraits of Men” in Pirene’s Fountain (forthcoming)
“I am trying to remember when you remembered me” in British Journal of Psychiatry (forthcoming)
“Future Stores” in The Wild Word
“The Poet Ponders Porridge” in The Wild Word
"It Rains in My Sun Room" in Dragon Poet Review
"Rose's Missing Diaries" in Dragon Poet Review
"Report Card" in Poets Reading the News
"Ladylike" in Poets Reading the News
"Counterintelligence" in Poets Reading the News
"Freezes Over" in Poets Reading the News
"The Poet Purges" in Twyckenham Notes
"The First Turkey You Pardoned" in The Poeming Pigeon: In the News
"Pinewood" in The Indian River Review
"Ants" in The Paddock Review
"Geese Bite" in Terrene
"Get the Story" in Footnote: A Literary Journal of History (forthcoming)
"My Grandmother Dreams She is Sewing" in Surprised by Joy
"Moving the Vase" in Surprised by Joy
"Joy" in Surprised by Joy
"My Parents Meet" in Surprised by Joy