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Poet, Therapist, US Army Veteran,

and Author of the Poetry Collection Becoming Ribbons

Image by Taylor Leopold

Becoming Ribbons
out from Unicorn Press in now!


“Do yourself a favor—get more than one copy of this book. After reading, you’re going to want to give a volume to someone you care about. Why? Because it’s a book of love and loss and survival, full of hard-earned wisdom. With lyric beauty and immense skill, Becoming Ribbons explores the interior of a profoundly layered wartime experience—with several poems that deserve to be anthologized many times over.”

—BRIAN TURNER, author of Here, Bullet

I suppose we all know something of what it means to be reckless with the things you love, and what it means to keep loving the things you have lost. But we know that the moments lost keep fighting to “exist past their making.” And there are the bodies, both lost and found--“Your body, away at war with/itself—fighting its very sleep.” No one in recent memory has written out of the military experience with such nuance, such knowledge, and such tenderness as Amber Adams has in this book. Or it may be better for me to call her subject experience, which includes the military but also the experience of childhood and of change: “She feels like she has become nothing of what she was.” You will be changed in some significant way by reading this book.


–BIN RAMKE, author of Earth on Earth

Becoming Ribbons is an elegy, one that navigates the impossible territories between valor and suffering, one that tenderly rises out of ruin, at once painful and transcendent. Adams, in this masterful, beautifully-crafted collection, challenges the facades of safety our institutions represent—marriage, war, freedom, our temporary bodies. “Everyone who fights thinks they are beaten / and strong at the same time,” Adams writes, pushing further into the depths of moral injury and the loss of self that accompany the trauma of war. These poems are elemental in their urgent grief: “Memory / it seems, is inseparable as water, / indistinguishable.” Adams reminds me of poetry’s power to remember, to celebrate, to elegize, and to confront the complicated heartbreak of survival.

–JENNY MOLBERG, author of Refusal

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