Opening the Doors of the Temple ~ Annalee Vilen Kwochka

Winner, The Pioneer Prize 2013

Peter LaBerge, Judge


About the Book:

“Annalee Kwochka’s Opening the Doors of the Temple cries and decries, the powerful, desolate person at the center of these poems a victim of wonder and woe. She’s right to invoke Sexton, Freud, and Kübler-Ross, to name the terms of her sentencing. And the poems are right as well—too right, down to the meanest enjambment, ‘Always so carefully / pieced together,’ and full of terror.” ~ Alan Michael Parker

“The twenty poems in Opening the Doors of the Temple are a remarkable coming of age cycle, where private and public self are scrutinized, revealed, reviled and celebrated. These poems are as rigorously crafted as they are unflappable in their courage. Annalee Kwochka’s mature debut is a thrilling glimpse from a poet I am certain we’ll have the good fortune to read for many many years.” ~ Dr. Victoria Redel


These poems underscore why the American Psychiatric Association has given Dermatilomania its own classification in the new DSM. The opening poem alludes to the million silent, suffering, mostly young women who like the saints and penitents that appear throughout these poems, torture themselves to comply with societal body norms. Still there is hope in these poems and yearning to speak honestly and lovingly from and about the un-covered self. The reader will find here a timely message about what it is to be young and female today, and one delivered in delicious language, powerful images, and compelling forms. customer