Poems by Saretta Morgan
February 6, 2024 • 6 x 9 • 160 Pages • 978-1-56689-697-9
Alt-Nature moves in desert dreams and riverbeds, an emergent chorus feeling toward languages of connection in the American Southwest.
These poems open to the desert as a practice of sensuality. Landscapes and Black queer social ecologies illuminate an anti-map of interior poetics and converging horizons. Here, geography forms the basis of feeling. Being and becoming along meridians of environmental degradation, globalized/ing militarism, and incarceration, Saretta Morgan thinks through the languages that instantiate violence alongside those which prepare the body for love.
About the Author
Saretta Morgan was born in Appalachia and raised on military installations. She’s interested in the ecologies and intimacies that materialize in the shadows of U.S. militarization. She is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative and organizes with the grassroots humanitarian aid organization No More Deaths, and with About Face: Veterans Against the War.
This book was written between 2018-2023, while I lived between the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts for 5 and a half years learning an intimacy with the desert through grassroots migrant justice and humanitarian aid work in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Simultaneously, I was repairing internally from my own history with the U.S. military and carceral systems.
This book is a love letter to the desert. One that moves with an awareness of how desires for love and belonging underwrite the violence of empire, and how the sensual experience of occupation extends and disrupts geographies and experiences of time and scale.
Praise for Alt-Nature
“In Alt-Nature, Morgan deviates from mainstream representations of nature in a masterful re-tooling of vision and perception.” —Debbra Palmer, New York Journal of Books
“Both expansive and compact, Alt-Nature is ultimately outstanding. The dynamic poetry promises a refreshing swim through deep waters.” —Vivienne N. Germain, The Harvard Crimson
"Alt-Nature feels like a search party for the haunted, the story of a collective body, a nomenclature of ache for belonging. In an homage to the humanitarian aid worker and the border crosser who often does not make their intended arrival, Morgan moves the reader with her acuity for the precise image steeped in the blooming succulence and necropolitical dynamics that dictate the deserts of Central and Southern Arizona." —Raquel Gutiérrez
“What is perspective without a horizon? What grave, no matter how old, is not fresh? What is the most precise language for what the government does to our bodies? Do wounds, do stitches, become part of the body? In the land, of the land? Is love waking up? Breaking earth? How much afterlife can a body bear? These are questions I find myself asking, or being asked, while reading Saretta Morgan’s vigilant, exacting, extraordinarily tender book-length indicator species, Alt-Nature.” —Brandon Shimoda
“What is love set against and within austerity? Not the sudden lushness of oasis, but a discipline. Saretta Morgan’s keen-whetted Alt-Nature traces intimacies through severe stations—the military, border deserts, the Anthropocene—and finds/maps there the alterity of Black thought and life, which is to say, disciplines sharpened in harsh space-time. As I read and re-read Morgan’s forceful collection, I find looseness and humor in nevertheless taut syntax, unease in certainty, shade in her generosity. This is etho-poetry as much as ecopoetry, an exacting meditation on what it is to cultivate freedom in “emotional fields of decay.” Alt-Nature is utterly gorgeous and, for readers committed to the labor of loving hard despite precarity and scarcity, utterly necessary.” —Douglas Kearney
“In Alt-Nature, we are dropped into tender valleys of intimacy. We move through the violence of relations between self and collective. We navigate the implications of maintaining order and hierarchies through our choices. We emerge wondering if we were happy, if it was joy. After a while, we realize that through these topologies, Saretta has marked ways of imagining a liberating landscape that is yet to come.” —Youmna Chlala
Praise for Feeling Upon Arrival
Entropy, “Best Poetry Books of 2018”
“The precision of language in Feeling Upon Arrival seems to feint, only to land the blow elsewhere. In this text, the language of theory takes on the character of a metaphysics—I think that's what the feint is about. It is a good and hungry almost finding itself in the speaker's body.” —Douglas Kearney
“Morgan’s poetic voice is gorgeous and I am greedy for more.” —Despy Boutris, The West Review
Praise for Saretta Morgan
“Saretta Morgan’s work doesn’t simply continue any one mode of writing, but works to permutate the orderings, genres, and possibilities for how text can function.” —John Rufo, Ploughshares