Desirée Alvarez

80 pp.

6.5 x 8.5, Paperback


March 2016



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The winner of the 2015 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize!

The judge who selected the collection was Mekeel McBride, University of New Hampshire Professor of English and author of six books of poetry, most recently Dog Star Delicatessen, New and Selected Poems 1970-2006. “These poems often shot shivers up my spine,” said McBride, commenting on her selection.“Some made me cry. This is a book I’ll want to read over and over.”

Alvarez in addition to being a poet is an artist, she even created the cover image for the book using a flamethrower! She teaches visual art at the Juilliard School and New York City College of Technology, CUNY, and often refers to painting in her writing. Devil’s Paintbrush is divided into five sections, all with art-related titles: “Trompe L’oeil,” “Portraiture,” “Night Landscape,” “Figure-Ground Illusion, and “Illuminated.”

The speakers in Devil’s Paintbrush are simultaneously prophetic and playful, as in the poem “Echolocation.” In it, Alvarez writes, “I stole the owl’s nest that she stole from the hawk. / Since then I’ve always walked as though hands ran / up my legs and this is flight.”


DesireeAlvarezDESIRÉE ALVAREZ is a visual poet who weaves history and the actual with the miraculous and mythic to form magical-realist compositions addressing human interaction with the natural world. Winner of numerous awards, fellowships, and residencies (from American Academy of Arts and Letters, Poets House, and Yaddo, among others), her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, and Prairie Schooner. She received the Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner, and the Robert D. Richardson Non-Fiction Award from Denver Quarterly. She teaches at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, and the Juilliard School. She received her MFA from School of Visual Arts and a BA from Wesleyan University.

Visit Desirée Alvarez’s website to learn more about her art and writing!