Melanie Braverman

The shape of this book and many of the poems within its pages mimic the expanding spiral of Cape Cod, where Braverman lives. This peninsular shoreline setting informs her poetry that is unselfconsciously about the search for love and security in the face of grief and within the queer community. Written with raw energy and astonishing images, Red showcases Braverman’s acute sensitivity to her atmosphere, both natural and peopled, and is evidence of a gifted, powerful voice.


If the heron comes in low over the marshes, if it shadows the car as you drive
west toward the sea, breakwater holding the lip of the coming tide
at bay while the autumn sun cast one gold and pink sheen over the grasses
like a spell, like all the secrets you tell
yourself while driving; if the heron comes in low, great wings beating the air
slowly as a woman beats rugs on a line, having pulled them from the basement
readying the house for winter (it is a fine, warm day but she is not fooled,
having lived her whole life here she knows what’s just beyond the cusp
of October); if you stop the car and, getting out, watch the bird hover and dip
and disappear below the horizon of the tall grass, wait then, just wait:
before the sky loses its light for good, and your hands grow unusually chill
in the new air, the head of the heron will bob like a buoy back out of the grass
again, as if it had always been there, still as a road sign, and there
it will remain, unfazed, patient and voracious
in this splendid world.


Listen to “Red,” read by Melanie Braverman:

Cover image: Red
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Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Prize, winner

Lambda Literary Award, finalist

“Melanie Braverman’s poems are a house with all the doors and windows open ... everything alive with change, alert with a kind of freshness and possibility.” —Mark Doty
“In Red, Melanie Braverman wrestles with what it means to be ‘voracious / in this splendid world’ — yes, splendid, despite the losses that come with being human. Part confession, part song — like a blues, Braverman here sings her way through, making music out of the chords of loss and of triumph over it. Valiant, elegiac, and pierced everywhere with the fiesty wisdom of hard survival, Braverman’s is a lovely music indeed.” —Carl Phillips
“With a generosity of spirit, an instinct for the lyric and a fiction writer’s gift for narrative structure, Braverman keeps us moving through the overlapping circles of a particular place and time.” Readerville
Red contains poems of such elegant form that the power of Braverman’s already moving elegies is compounded.” —Dennis Loy Johnson,
“Intelligence, inquisitiveness, candor, and wit wedded to molecular intuition — Melanie Braverman’s poems emit fierce equanimity and grace.” —Olga Broumas
“An ebullient and very believable voice…disarming and charming.” Publishers Weekly

Author photograph by Marian Roth

Melanie Braverman

Melanie Braverman is the recipient of grants in both fiction and poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and her work has appeared in various journals, including American Poetry ReviewAmerican Voice, and Southern Poetry Review. Red is her first poetry collection, and she is the author of a novel, East Justice (Permanent Press, 1996). Braverman has taught in the Spoleto Artists Symposia in Italy, the Fine Arts Work Center summer and fall workshop programs, and at Brandeis University. She lives in Provincetown, MA.

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