No More Flowers Front Cover 3 16

No More Flowers

Stephanie Cawley

In Stephanie Cawley’s No More Flowers, poetry serves as a resistance against suffering—their own, their loved ones’, humanity’s. A protest against meaninglessness. An antidote. The poems in No More Flowers believe in their ability to affect consequences with language, while being self-aware enough to know how absurd that belief is:

“That was just words. You could make them do anything, but also it was hard to make them do anything. Kite against blue clouds. Tree with green leaves. Street sign cut off on one edge so it says Cum Street. This was the machine into which I poured my sadness. The words were dead and they were alive.”

These poems are a pleasure. And they insist that pleasure—and desire—are not an indulgence. They are a necessity to life: “I do want my friend to find / a place to sleep for longer than a few weeks. / I do want to put flowers in the mouths / of everyone I love and call it art.” The title declares No More Flowers, but inside the book, flowers proliferate. A queer, wild garden riots into bloom.

What People Are Saying

Kazumi Chin

Here are the layers of an exquisite desire, bared to the world, teeth and all. Blood and all. Queer as in: the death of narrative, the death of feeling as an explanatory framework. Long live our pleasures, our unruly beauty rendered illegible by inherited patterns of wanting. Long live the possibility of pleasure as a pathway towards an expansive sense of being, made and unmade at the site of skin against skin. Because we know our arrival is not a point on the horizon, but an endlessly renewable life force within us, between us, for me, for you. "One cannot know what one wants until one knows what wanting is," Cawley writes -- this is a collection of coming into life and living, even in the presence of death. Even in the presence of a void left by diminishments and binaries and a world intent on foreclosures. Reading this book, I came to understand "the future didn’t have to look like anything."


The journey of these poems had me on the edge of my seat and always on the brink of seeing the world in new ways! “If there was a hole in the center of the forest / I knew I would be dragged into it.” Here is a book we want in our lives, poetry to return to again and again! Stephanie Cawley’s No More Flowers is absolutely brilliant!

Carrie Lorig

Stephanie Cawley’s No More Flowers is a book that builds soil / earth as viscous porosity. It’s refusal and it’s more generous. It’s a study of entanglement. A collision / a coalescing of memories, thoughts, experiences, edges rustling and shining amongst wildflowers / so close to the highway you can brush against them, pull on a seed. “Life on earth is about applying pressure / without understanding what it might do,” says Cawley. “At this juncture, I unhinge myself from time, gender, cheekbones / How embarrassing, to admit I don’t care about plot, just images of water and a somber face, or, / barring that, a savage, intelligent, feminine interiority,” says Cawley. You bring intentionality to the poem, your life, your politics / and yet / it can still get away from you / get wild.

Eileen Myles

I love Stephanie’s mix. It’s been killer for me since day one. Science fiction-y, mundane, dyke, smart, droll, dirty, surprising. As poems they just drop out, in a true 21st century way. This is the path & I’m on it. I say yay.

Inside the Book

Perfect Bound
6" x 9"
Publication Date:
September 2024

From the Book