Winner of the 2014 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
Texas Review Press, 2015
The poems in Inked—full of twisting roads and highways, of inhabited rooms and abandoned houses—chart a course of departure and return. Here the poet chronicles the fierce wildness of adolescence and a more reflective adulthood, in which she becomes “no longer the dreamer / but the woken, the watcher, the guard.” These are finely-crafted, musical poems, attentive to the world’s rhythms in an Ohio apple orchard, at a Midlands train station, in the throbbing life of the South. In this debut, where memory is “a broken ladle that I raise,” Inked becomes not only the body’s tattoo but the poet’s work, attempting to keep experience whole against the inevitability of loss.
"These are poems that attentive readers will return to again and again. They are poems to come back to, for their distinctive metaphors, and for their people and places evocatively recounted, even if anonymous or ambiguous, and whether named or not. The title is apt: here is a poet who has already affixed a signature."
—William Virgil Davis, final judge for the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
“What ‘tattoos’ us? What images imprint themselves forever in the imagination—as ink seeps indelibly into flesh—and why? The answer is here, in this stunning, high-wire, tough-minded and eloquent debut collection: Inked, by Corinna McClanahan Schroeder. These images and the experience they embody—the bizarre commonplace, the tender contradictions of maturing love, grief and longing, the picaresque journey of a young woman’s awakening poetic consciousness—are writ to last. This is a poet who has mastered her idiom, her ‘craft or sullen art’ with poems that leave the reader marked by the force of her new-minted insights, her full-throttle pointillism, her precise visionary style.”
“The exquisite poems of Corinna McClanahan Schroeder’s debut volume, Inked, remind us how deeply we are marked by our world, by the accidents of experience and, perhaps most profoundly, by family and by those we have come to love. In these elegantly written and supremely poised poems, every coming of age feels immediate, raw, and luminous; these poems announce a hunger ready to devour the present and a sensibility anxious to take hold of the life ahead. Generous and reflective, Inked is a truly remarkable collection.”
—David St. John