"Rarely am I so submerged in the details of a poet's mind and world as I am with Marisa Crawford's work. It's bright and glitter roll-on scented, with a pitch-perfect 90s soundtrack. It's nostalgic, dark, surprising yet warmly familiar. I mourn for the girlhood of this book. In Reversible, Crawford has created an incredibly moving and vivid archive of growing up—part monologue, part lyric, part ethnography—distinct, striking, tender, and enchanting." —Morgan Parker
"Marisa Crawford's poems give me a kind of ecstatic pleasure, as all the sensory and social strangeness of 90s youth come flooding back. I will never understand how she can remember all these details and evoke them with such feeling—she must have an off-the-charts EQ, and also an off-the-charts whatever the 'Q' is that measures the ability to remember every outfit you ever wore. 'E' is also for empathy: in Crawford's poems, everything that happens to her friends happens to her. And then I'm in their glow, and everything that happened to Crawford and her friends happens to me. Her poems also know, better than any I've ever read, that fashion is imagery; ditto for friendships and stickers and backyard pools and the things girls do to their bodies in their bedrooms late at night. It doesn't matter that the box of old cassette tapes that you hope will be in your parents' basement might not be findable: all we want to do is go searching alongside her, following her flashlight beam as it lights up the feelings inside the objects we put away or gave away or forgot we ever had." —Becca Klaver
"Dear M, <3 <3 when i think of you, i think of the most emo-heart parts of 90s songs; like the battering part in Third Eye Blind's 'How's It Gonna Be,' when that white guy bellows 'how's it gonna be / when you don't know me anymore.' Reversible is the glossy mixtape of girl in becoming; in the way your 8th grade algebra class was simultaneously mind-blowing and devastating: things can both connect to and undermine each other at the same time. I can relate to the poems' 'you' or 'we' in ways mediated by the "trinity" of race, class, & gender—as the poems here certainly locate themselves within—or in the other similarly dangerous trinity of: are you on your period, what's your rising sign, & who's your favorite Spice Girl. But that 'I' & 'we' is so inconstant, so subject to radical revisions of the idea of girlhood as lived aesthetic and feminism as process, procedure. You tell us, Marisa, tell us tell you tell me just how it's gonna be." —Jennifer Tamayo
"Like a favorite, much-loved, much-washed t-shirt passed from biological sister to soul sister to sorority sister, Marisa Crawford's Reversible holds the shape of the women who have touched it. To be reversible in Crawford's world is to expose the seams that construct young women's identities in girl culture, the give-and-take between popular culture and consumer culture and the lived experience of girls; to be able to put on and take off a series of selves." —Caolan Madden
Marisa Crawford's first collection of poetry evokes The Breakfast Club's angst with deliberate control and fresh upheaval. Centering on coming-of-age themes, Crawford is brutally honest yet careful in her representations and confessional moments—she invokes a preteen voice, capturing in detail female subjects, such as one who wears "cotton flowers on her undershirt," and describing "men who leave handprints all over your blankets." There is a maddening and desirous investment in the characters littered throughout: Ivy, Deidre, Virginia, Stephanie, Megan. Each girl is a catalyst for another brilliantly crafted poem; each poem is a catalyst for swizzle-stick nostalgia and a close re-examination of girlhood. The winner of the 2008 Gatewood Prize, Crawford reminds us that although we may make it out of our childhoods alive, we never quite shake our own personal geographies.
"Marisa Crawford's The Haunted House is indeed 'a House that tries to be Haunted.' A descendant of Dickinson, she's also very much her own poet, reclaiming and enlarging poetic conventions. Crawford's free verse poems are carved from sonnets and anaphora, the aura of traditional fixed forms glowing in an outline around her experimental gestures. Her prose blocks take us from room to room, trunk to trunk, closet to closet, where girls keep boxes of photographs and cigarettes and secrets. The 'Gurlesque' specificity of Crawford's poems—swizzle sticks, candy cane striped fingernails, ice cube popsicles, kewpie dolls, Freddy Krueger—are balanced with an elliptical otherworldliness, riddles and combination locks. These poems are energetic and exuberant, like the best young adult novels are." —Denise Duhamel
"The Haunted House is like a locker-room exposè of a certain strain of American female adolescence, and its uncanny knack for detail-cupcakes baked into wafer cones, mushrooms drawn on notebooks, the 'post-prom'-will resonate powerfully for those in the know...or those who want to be. It's all here: the complex machinations of female friendship, the magic spells and poisons and horror stories, the 'top-secret sequins': Crawford has done us a service, capturing in fun, dark, exciting poems an experience many of us have shared but few have written about so fluidly. This poetry is the unholy and inevitable spawn of Emily Dickinson and Judy Blume. And it's a sugar high. Enter and enjoy the rush." —Arielle Greenberg
"This book is a marvel. This house opens with a skeleton key. We enter and find false floors, trapdoors, and surprises in each and every shining poem. In Marisa Crawford's The Haunted House, riddles reign and secrets spill. Crawford comes equipped with her own girl gang, '...a choir of teenaged girls to tell our story.' Before they're through they'll shake down all our assumptions about girldom. 'What's your locker combination, without your memory?' the poet asks in 'Pachyderm.' What's a new book of poetry without a prom parade of ghosts and girlfriends, joyrides with monsters, poems that offer up humor with your thrills, language so sharp it chills, and lines that will make you stop dead in your tracks? 'If heaven was a house, what bone structure.' It's scary how good this is." —Toni Mirosevich
"These poems are sticky and tough and glossy and romantic—coded love notes passed behind a teacher's desk in high school, magic marker on a bathroom stall, crying at your bedroom window after painting on your bedroom walls with nail polish sort of poems. Marisa Crawford is hauntingly in love with her subjects and after a poem or two you are too." —Michelle Tea
Marisa Crawford is the author of the poetry collections Reversible (2017) and The Haunted House (2010) from Switchback Books, as well as two chapbooks. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in publications including Hyperallergic, BUST, Bitch, The Hairpin, Fanzine, and Electric Gurlesque (Saturnalia Books, 2017). She is the founder and editor-in- chief of the feminist literary/pop culture website Weird Sister. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.