evening primroses by Gabby Loomis-Amrhein
Gabby Loomis-Amrhein’s debut collection seeks to address trans struggle and liberation in the crepuscularity and in-betweenness of rural being. Showing the country itself as queer, evening primroses serves as a sort of field guide for growth and change in that space, marking the passage of time between woodcock dance and trillium bloom, a record of having been, becoming, coming out.
"evening primroses is playful and poignant, a cyclical landscape of queer life in the cornfields of southern Ohio. Gabby Loomis-Amrhein brings her surroundings not just to life, but to full embodiment: a dying possum on the side of the road, pantyhose on an awkward trip to Target, hot moonlight, dusky midwest humidity, all expressing themselves as a part of her. She brings us to baby birds, damp salamanders, scarred pit mines, and scary rest stops with equal doses of sharpness and love. I am grateful for this invitation to pay attention and to come home."
— Lewis Raven Wallace, author of The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity (University of Chicago Press, 2019)
"Gabby Loomis-Amrhein takes flight in this collection centering trans joy. She writes midwestern pastoral poems that gaze at the stars and dig deep into the soil. Trans people are swimming in the river and blooming in the garden. We are sweating and laughing beneath the sun."
"This book brims with queer, country pleasures—not just birds and spring water, paw paw custard pie and farms, but perineal play, lingerie shopping while trans, and 'warming yr junk in front of the stove making drop biscuits.' Don’t get me wrong. There’s rage at 'the number of trans people murdered so far this year,' 'women afraid to piss / in public bathrooms,' and fake instagram allies 'filling up with words they won’t say.' Still, as a queer trans woman in the country, Gabby Loomis-Amrhein loves herself as she is, where she is; she loves her friends and family, comrades and lovers. Through the gorgeous, earthy poems of evening primroses, we get to love her too."
Gabby Loomis-Amrhein is a trans farmer and naturalist who is particularly enamored of birds. She believes in liberation, love, pawpaws, and the collective power of people to overcome the conditions that keep us down. She carves spoons and gardens with her partner on a small farm in southern ohio. Her poems reside in Hoxie Gorge Review, Hematopoiesis Press, Recenter Press Poetry Journal, and Sheepshead Review. Her work explores poetry, phenology, and historiographies of body and place. Her major aspirations include spending more time on the couch with her cat, seeing one sunrise or set per day, and always learning different ways to listen. Gabby can be found on Instagram @birdingwhilequeer.
Poetry by Gabby Loomis-Amrhein. Edited by Terra Oliveira. 69 pages. Black & White. Published by Recenter Press in April 2021.
Lambda Literary (April 2021's Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books)