Playing Monster :: Seiche (1913 Press) Jello-O Girls: A Family History (Little Brown and Company)
Playing Monster :: Seiche is a book-length poem that incessantly dodges between two narratives: the speaker's childhood experiences with an abusive father and, as an adult, increasingly aggressive acts made toward her mother by strange men. It is a piece of noir poetics. It is also memoir and documentary. Through tight, spare poems, Arterian's unflinching descriptions of difficult life experiences fight aestheticization, engaging directly with the events as through the poetry of witness.
In 1899, Allie Rowbottom's great-great-great-uncle bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor for $450. The sale would turn out to be one of the most profitable business deals in American history, and the generations that followed enjoyed immense privilege - but they were also haunted by suicides, cancer, alcoholism, and mysterious ailments. More than 100 years after that deal was struck, Allie's mother Mary was diagnosed with the same incurable cancer, a disease that had also claimed her own mother's life. Determined to combat what she had come to consider the "Jell-O curse" and her looming mortality, Mary began obsessively researching her family's past, determined to understand the origins of her illness and the impact on her life of Jell-O and the traditional American values the company championed. Before she died in 2015, Mary began to send Allie boxes of her research and notes, in the hope that her daughter might write what she could not. Jell-O Girls is the liberation of that story.
Diana Arterian is the author of the poetry collection Playing Monster :: Seiche (1913 Press, 2017), the chapbooks With Lightness & Darkness and Other Brief Pieces (Essay Press, 2017) and Death Centos (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013), and coeditor of Among Margins: Critical & Lyrical Writing on Aesthetics (Ricochet, 2016). Her creative work has been recognized with fellowships from the Banff Centre, Caldera, Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo; and her poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in Asymptote, Black Warrior Review, BOMB, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, The Poetry Foundation, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. Born and raised in Arizona, Arterian currently resides in Los Angeles, where serves as a poetry editor at Noemi Press and is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.
Allie Rowbottom is the author of Jell-O Girls, published in July of 2018 by Little Brown. An American Bookseller’s Association indie next and indies introduce pick, Jell-O Girls was a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection and was named a best book of summer by People Magazine, Real Simple, GOOP, Oprah, Glitter Guide, Brit & Co, Alma and POPSUGAR. Allie’s essays can be found in Vanity Fair, Salon, The Florida Review, No Tokens, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD from the University of Houston and an MFA from CalArts and lives in LA with her husband Jon, French bulldogs Butter and Jammy, and Ham the Morgan horse.