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Press Release for Becoming Ribbons:

"In this stunning debut poetry collection announces the distinctive voice of an emerging American poet. Amber Adams, a veteran of the Army Reserves who was deployed under Operation Iraqi Freedom, writes of the marks left by war in a new and startling way.

Becoming Ribbons presents four acts that weave together themes of love, trauma, loss, and grief. Early poems in the collection reflect on Amber’s marriage to Marine Bradley Adams and her own upcoming deployment. In evocative, perceptive poems, Amber describes Bradley’s injury in Al- Anbar province. The collection explores the way war and trauma changes Amber and Bradley’s relationship, and finally grapples with the end of their marriage, Bradley’s death by suicide, and the need to memorialize those who have gone.

Amber Adams traces a remarkable emotional landscape from our contemporary social terrain.As of the publication of this volume, America has been at war for over two decades, in which the personal, inexorable aftermath of war has cracked into the lives of many Americans. Readers will see friends, family, loved ones, and themselves in the challenging lyric moments presented in this collection."



“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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