In words and pictures, Liza Charlesworth’s new book, Why Happiness Makes Me Nervous, captures the poetic journey of a girl’s complicated coming of age. Loneliness, divorce, loss, love, burgeoning sexuality, and those awkward, epic years between adolescent and adulthood are explored in the pairing of these riveting poems and vivid photographs.
About the Author
Liza Charlesworth is a poet, street photographer, and writer of books for both children and adults, including Spiderella (Scholastic Inc.) and The Couple’s Guide to In Vitro Fertilization (De Capo Press). Liza’s poems have appeared in numerous publications and her photos can be viewed at her popular tumblr site, Beautyhog (lizacharlesworth1.tumblr.com). She lives in New York City with her husband and twin sons, who provide daily inspiration.
Praise for Why Happiness Makes Me Nervous
Liza Charlesworth practices two arts, poetry and photography, so brightly that they both shine in her new collection Why Happiness Makes Me Nervous. Her contemporary street images make windows through which we peer into her past—a childhood not as bright as those gleaming photos. The poems shiver with the thought that what is cherished could be lost.”
—Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden and The Second Blush
These are poems of authority: they navigate us surely across and down the page and we turn each page, read, read again, and continue onward. This is a memorable collection. Charlesworth is a poet whose work we will continue to read, savor, and return to.”
—Martha Rhodes, founder of Four Way Books
If American poetry is a circus, Liza Charlesworth steps up to be the fearless ringmaster, her lines cracking a whip of precision and delight through the emotion-rich terrain of coming of age, loss, self-image, and pain…. In poem after poem, on page after page, the reader wants to step right up for more of this dazzling debut.”
—Alice Anderson, author of The Watermark
Eye-banging, acid-bright photographic images illuminate sly, shy poems. A joyful book.”
—Bevan Davies, whose photos are collected in Los Angeles, 1976
Childlike wonder and the turbulence of adolescence haunt the poems and startling images of Liza Charlesworth’s hybrid visual-poetic work. Sharp rhymes comingle with fable, bright singing, and wry commentary…. And beneath the peeling wallpaper of these gorgeously colored photographic and imagistic musings are time-capsuled moments, often hidden beneath or refracted through hard-won tenderness and an engaging playfulness.”
—Peter Covino, author of The Right Place to Jump