The collected poems in Royal Blue Shutters explore the pull and tug of language, the tin-like sounds, the careful alignment, and robust admiration of words. Stanzas are bulked up with their own musicality—songs that can’t be sung but only released from the lips in a prattle.
Their subject matter turns the ordinary on its head, bringing questions to the fore about what it means to take one’s place on the world’s unglamorous stage. Insights of rare beauty are shared as chitchat, and whether petite in nature or longer, these poems are vignettes about life’s inexplicable yet dutiful rhythm.
Lisa Brognano sees the world in texture and hue, and the result is this fine collection of poetry. The reader will “experience a world in motion” for there is movement, delicate and brash, within the Royal Blue Shutters of the book’s title. There is culpability in Brognano’s poems, “a mesmerizing swirl of blunders.” But there is also forgiveness, affection, and clear, unflinching vision. Lisa Brognano’s voice is one that will endure. Royal Blue Shutters is a must read.
—Linda Blaskey, author of White Horses
Lisa Brognano’s Royal Blue Shutters is a floodlight exposing, with skilled precision, the restraints of gender roles. Women wonder “about life’s little complexities/and how a baker of apple pies fits into/a bigger plan” and men with “game-show-host grin(s)” try to escape from a life of “cartoon neckties” and “plastic jobs.” Sexuality is the “trip wire of love” as relationships bubble and dissolve again and again, each poem a diorama or a snow globe that holds something that should be picturesque, but isn’t. When her words settle, we realize “the weight of a journey/thorny and pressing” is what we’re left with.
—Tayve Neese, author of Blood to Fruit
To read Lisa Brognano’s Royal Blue Shutters is to screen a montage of human folly and frailty juxtaposed with scenes of natural wonder, the musical score impish, ironic, and decidedly non-diegetic. Brognano populates the cosmos of these poems with a smattering of hard-luck characters, lovers attempting (sometimes successfully) to grasp fleeting moments of carnal gratification and transcendent connection, seekers with hints of transport in their eyes, and flora and fauna anthropomorphized intensely enough to suggest a panpsychist metaphysics. With an almost Dickensian gift for savagely ironic nomenclature and suggestions of a mischievous cosmic will that takes a little too much perverse delight in teaching humbling lessons, Brognano’s poems offer us a lens through which the world feels richer, wilder, more unique, and wittier than it does to the naked eye.
—Art Zilleruelo, author of Toothsome
Lisa Brognano is the author of the novels In the Interest of Faye (Golden Antelope, 2017), A Man for Prue (Resplendence, 2017), and Cake at Dusk (Van Velzer, forthcoming). Her poetry books include: The Willow Howl (Nixes Mate, 2017) and The Copper Weathervane (Luchador, 2020). Her poems and short fiction have appeared in national and international literary journals. In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Sexton Poetry Prize. Brognano holds a master’s degree in English and another in Fine Art. She lives in New York with her husband.