Do Not Bring Him Water


Do Not Bring Him Water


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Caitlin Scarano's debut poetry collection, Do Not Bring Him Water, begins, 'as a child you don't ask yourself why you're hiding, / you just hide.' These poems bear witness to domestic trauma and the many forms it can take. In this collection, women escape knots of fishing wire, secret rooms behind radiator grates, hammers to the skull, vegetable gardens, howling houses, chains and chairs. Scarano orchestrates a strange, lyrical world where the lines between human/animal, male/female, past/future, guilt/innocence, and waking/dreaming blur with both visceral pleasure and danger. We are led through this world by a speaker who is attempting to both acknowledge and disrupt a history of violence and silence. Yes, perhaps 'no one is made / for anyone,' but love can still engender from loss.

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Cover design by Zoe Norvell.

Praise for Do Not Bring Him Water:

“Do Not Bring Him Water beckons the reader with its nostalgic pastoral landscape, then haunts them with the shadows of menacing animals and men. The writing is disarming, lyrical, and unhinged, and it often took me until the end of a poem to realize I’d been holding my breath the whole time. It’s hard to believe this is a debut collection: the author has seen so much and lived to tell about it, and tell it with gorgeous darkness. This book will make you rethink language.” —ANDREA GIBSON, Author of PansyPole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, and The Madness Vase

Do Not Bring Him Water is way too nuanced for. . . simplification. These poems are the boundless scope of Scarano’s imagination. Fearless vulnerability. Wonder. When she writes, ‘I was only mouthing mercy and an aggressive thirst for you,’ all I can say is ‘damn’ This is the most stunning debut I’ve read in decades.” —ERICA DAWSON, Author of The Small Blades Hurt and Big-Eyed Afraid

“In language—bare and honest—that comes at you from an angle, the poems of Do Not Bring Him Water grant us glimpses of bodies and violence. The speaker of these poems finds the language to express and explore the hard truths of surviving an abusive family and negotiating romantic relationships as an adult. They wrestle with that haunting past and its effects. These poems enter a landscape of intimate and evasive revelations that engenders a thirst for more. That thirst is slaked in the reading of these fearless lyrics.” —SEAN HILL, Author of Dangerous Goods and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor

“Caitlin Scarano’s work deals with the violence of particulars, how small things can grow teeth, can bite back. Nothing is safe in this book—cities, families, boys, but particularly, the narrator herself, whose own appetite for destruction might ultimately be the thing that saves her. Gritty, ghostly, and, most of all, brilliant, Do Not Bring Him Water will haunt you for a long time to come.” —ERIN ELIZABETH SMITH, Author of The Naming of Strays and The Fear of Being Found