A coloring, pick-your-own poem, space-time romp exploring pandemic, parenting, politics, personal, past.
So, we find ourselves here, in this book where you can split the meta-verse as often as you'd like, jumping around the various poems that I wrote during the pandemic. These poems reflect what my life was during those first fifteen months: scattered, overwhelmed, whimsical, nostalgic, pissed, political, exhausted, diseased, smitten.
You may, of course, read straight through (if you dare), but if you do jump around, please go ahead and mark off your journey in the TIMELINE (table of contents). Yes, write in this book! Go ahead! In fact, this is a coloring book! Please add life to the brilliant illustrations that Joey Hartmann-Dow and Jay Williams created for this book. And the few poems that have no illustrations to accompany them, please draw your own! Crowd these pages. There's always space for more creative chaos.
Reader, the book you’re holding is unlike any poetry collection you’ve ever met before. This is a guidebook for living fully in the most turbulent moments of our lifetime. This is a coloring book because you too are the artist, and every day is another chance to create beauty. This is a mirror, because while each piece is deeply personal for the author, you’ll see yourself in these poems as you choose your path through the wonder and anxiety of living in a universe where “each step / uncertain and tender” is still yours to make. Most importantly, this collection is a reminder that, in whatever universe you find yourself, you are the chooser. Boswell challenges you to choose the path toward peace, awe, and love. Take her up on this journey and be transformed.
Armin Tolentino, Clark County Poet Laureate (2021-2023), author of We Meant to Bring It Home Alive
In her latest collection, Joann Renee Boswell invites us to leap with her into the “multidimensional wormhole” of the metaverse, a choose-your-own-adventure coloring book version of this life in which “we are / magnificent. / complex.” A fearless, capable guide, Boswell believes in our ability to stay with her as she careens from parenting to self-love to quantum physics, from the injustices of racism, sexism, fascism, and religious hypocrisy to the liberatory mysticism of art and magic. We are even encouraged to draw on the pages without illustrations, for “there’s always space for more creative chaos.” Prepare yourself for a fun, engaging, and transformative dive into this poet’s multitudinous and ever-expanding consciousness. You’ll be glad you played along.
Christopher Luna, Clark County Poet Laureate (2013-2017), author of Voracity
Meta-Verse! is more than a book of poems, it’s an adventure. Jo is creative, witty, and charming as she uses her poetry to guide us on a journey in, around, and through an expansive understanding of the world around us. The myriad ways to approach this work, especially with the bonus coloring content, allows readers to have a new experience every time we engage. You don’t want to miss this unique insight into family, love, relationships, pandemic life, and so much more.
Meghan Crozier, author of The Pursuing Life and co-host of Thereafter Podcast
Joann Boswell’s Meta-Verse! is whimsical reading that packs a punch, including poems both unflinching and warmly invitational. As a poet, Boswell is equally adept at exploring realities that disappoint and overwhelm (like parenting, politics, racism, restrictive religion, and lack of affordable housing) and finding-or manifesting-magic, especially magic in the self. For instance, she delights with an ode to her own legs (naming them her “Summer Crush”) and a vivid, liberatory recounting of the first time wearing a crop top, which celebrates a stomach’s “dimply radiance.” Through Meta-Verse!, let Boswell introduce you to the “Goddess” who is “swallowing each ultimatum we waltz in,” to the woman who is thankful “for not forgetting me,” and to an existence of “chronic delight / paired with decay.” By book’s end, you might find yourself better primed to look for that “grasp of Glitter / always available” in each one of us and to name some uncomfortable truths!
Megan McDermott, author of Jesus Merch: A Catalog in Poems
Joann Renee Boswell
lives in Camas, Washington, with her husband (a Quaker minister) and her three young children. Joann’s first book, Cosmic Pockets (Fernwood Press, 2020), is a full-length collection of poetry and photography, and her second book, breath so hungry (The Poetry Box, 2022), is a chapbook love letter to her partner. Joann loves rainy days and sci-fi shows. She was her high school mascot and spent a summer working at a lumber mill. You can read more at joannrenee.com