I began in fiction, fell in love with poetry, and then dipped a toe into memoir. My poetry chapbook, An Animal I Can’t Name, won the 2015 Two of Cups Press competition; my debut poetry collection, Head of a Gorgon, winner of a 2023 Human Relations Indie Book Award and finalist in the 2022 American Book Fest Awards, came out through Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in May 2022; and my memoir is in progress. My creative work has garnered an Academy of American Poets Prize, among others; has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net; and has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and other journals and anthologies. I received my MFA from Bowling Green State University, where I was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. I was also the founding faculty advisor for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ undergraduate creative arts journal, Beyond Thought. I’ve led workshops, done readings and podcasts, trained creative writers in submitting and publication, and helped individuals polish single pieces as well as entire program application portfolios and book manuscripts.
I am an award-winning professional and creative writer, editor, consultant, and educator with two degrees in English and more than 20 years of combined experience.
I am a former magazine editor-in-chief and communications director experienced in bringing polished, captivating, and accessible content to verticals such as technology, health care, higher education, and publishing. I am skilled in idea generation and storytelling strategies that inform, engage, and entertain; build audiences, brands, and consumer loyalty; and generate sales leads and market awareness. In addition to writing and editing, I also excel at relationship building, training, documentation, and bringing organization to procedural chaos. As a consultant, I’ve created job application materials (résumés and cover letters) and assisted clients in conducting job searches and rehearsing for interviews.
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A Goodreads ReviewHead of a Gorgon by Raegen Pietrucha
HLR’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s not often I feel completely rattled and shaken-up by a poetry book, but I was blown away by this remarkable, hotly anticipated collection from Raegen Pietrucha. Exploring mythology in the sense of classic ancient Greek myth modernised, as well as the mythology of trauma/of body/of girl/woman, Head of a Gorgon is an exquisitely crafted, incredibly brave series of poems that both enthralled and deeply unsettled me.
In Head of a Gorgon, all that was once hidden (and often swathed in shame, the topic being CSA) is brought into the light (‘secret arts now uncovered’) in devastating, earth-shattering clarity. The reader witnesses the tragic loss of innocence; the blind rage of the wronged; then the gaining of strength and power; and then ultimately the type of transformation that can only be attained through a fierce determination to survive.
In these pages, Pietrucha has tackled a very sensitive and difficult subject with the utmost care. This is poetry as fury, poetry as incantation, poetry as testimony. Pietrucha writes with real fervour, yet every line is perfectly measured, delivered with maximum impact, never compromising the speaker’s message – this balancing act (what I’ll call “poetically controlled rage”) is one that only the very best of poets can achieve.
I adored the poet’s use of Plath-esque enjambment – for example, in the opening poem ‘The Gorgon’s Parting Thoughts’ and the three poems titled ‘Your Captain Speaking’, the lines are cut in such clever and jarring ways, I felt the sense of disorientation and confusion that often comes with having experienced and survived trauma. I also really loved the ‘Shedding Skin’ poems that use strikethrough to create new meanings from base text. The writing/language itself is consistently beautiful throughout – the closing poem ‘Ravenfather’ made me cry, and these lines from the first section of ‘Transfiguration’ in particular hurt my heart, so devastating is their delivery: ‘as if red could travel far back enough // to resurrect a girl / felled in the grass at sunset.’ I don’t want to give too much of the poems away (each one deserves to be read and appreciated in its entirety), so I’ll just add that I also found the playlist included in the back matter to be a great idea, along with a list of resources for those affected by (C)SA.
Challenging, urgent, wholly necessary, Head of a Gorgon is a revelation, and deserves to win awards. I know that this book will stay in my head and heart for a long, long time. Brava, Pietrucha! I can’t wait to see what this poet produces next.
Visit my Goodreads Author Profile for more reviews of Head of a Gorgon and An Animal I Can’t Name.