And the Girls Worried Terribly

Dot Devota

“Why did the girls worry terribly? The title was found in Oliver Statler’s book, The Black Ship Scroll. This has been an important book to my partner, Brandon Shimoda. A caption beneath a sketch of two women in kimonos reads: ‘The foreigners said they wanted to take pictures of beautiful Japanese ladies, so the government officials ordered that some of the singing girls be chosen as subjects. Later a rumor spread that anyone who was photographed would die within three years, and the girls worried terribly.’ There was a deep-rooted superstition about having one’s portrait made: the soul might leave to take up residence in the ‘new self,’ causing the fatal ‘shadow-sickness.’

I got married in spring 2009 with Caitie Moore. We were two brides marrying ourselves to poetry. This took place on a homestead in the Bitterroot Mountains. We changed into our dresses in a shed. My mother showed up and sat in the front row. We walked down the aisle. The union was lawless. We read poems to confused guests. We cut into white cake. My bride’s family thought I was her lover. Brandon wore the tie I made from my grandmother’s crochet. Afterwards, Brandon, Caitie and I moved to Seattle. My skin caught fever from the damp. I turned allergic to the sun. Each day it visited from outer space. A bride on her honeymoon! In shadow, I returned to normal. Having succumbed to something of myself. A vessel for infestations. Poetry mounted me each night, tireless. I wanted to sleep, instead waking up every 3 minutes to scribble a couple lines, then fall backwards into my pillow. Only to be woken up again. A book was written, Blackwriting, against my will. Immediately afterwards, I began writing a long poem about that day in the Bitterroot Mountains…


Then Brandon and I moved to Maine and lived in the woods beside a lake. The Silence That Endures is a Scene from My Massacres was written for my brother. I wanted him to know what I knew of the past. I sensed he would suffer. Family secrets. I heard the lake freezing, and I stayed near until it thawed out again. Crying into the greenery. We left once more…Taiwan’s southern port city on the China Sea, Japan after the Tsunami, our family’s defunct farm in Missouri where everything that grows grows wild, and Arizona. Many were family sites. Altars. Places compiling short breaths

inside me. With each, I skimmed off the topmost layer. It Is Love the I Don’t Write is a series of dry nightly baths. Blowing sweetly on anything vibrating with red strings. I wake, remembering the parts where I felt most willing. Simultaneously, anger. Weapons I left sticking out of the things provoking me. All the while I could only pretend to be a part of something more important. A discussion. News reports. Wars and diaspora. Whatever inundated me I became surrogate to. Voices brought to memory nothing. Taking up the most space. They also needed relief…”


The poet Dot Devota is from a family of ranchers and rodeo stars. She is the author of The Eternal Wall (Cannibal Books; Canadian edition from BookThug), MW: A Midwest Field Guide (Editions19\), and And The Girls Worried Terribly (Noemi Press). She currently writes about the Midwest and travels full time.

Reviews and News

2017 Winners of the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry

The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners and finalists for the 2017 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry.

Winner: UNMANNED by Jessica Rae Bergamino

We will be also publishing Inland Empire by Leah Huizar


Orient by Nicholas Gulig

Ochre/Orpheus by Meredith Stricker

Bodega by Su Hwang

STET by Dora Malech

We Are Too Big for This House by Sara Borias

2016 Winners of the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry

The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners, finalists, and semi finalists for the 2016 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry.

Winner: Indictus by Natalie Eilbert

Finalist: Careen by Grace Shuyi Liew

We will be also publishing Gentry!fication: or the scene of the crime by Chaun Webster and A Problem and Some Space by Hannah Ensor


The Devil’s Workshop by Xavier Cavazos

Hagia Animalia by Sara Biggs Chaney

Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Leaving Impulse by Rachel Martin

Manipur by Robin McLachlen

The Historians of Redundant Moments: Novel in Poems by Nandini Dhar

Northern Ledger by Kate Partridge

Probable Garden by Bronwen Tate

Saints and Cannibals by Robert Lunday

Winter Swimmers by Carolyn DeCarlo

Woman, Yielding by Andrea Blancas Beltran

un/documented—kentucky—songs by Steven Alvarez

2015 Winners of the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry

The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners, finalists, and semi finalists for the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry. We received about 400 poetry submissions this year and thank all the writers who submitted for trusting us with their work.


Bone Confetti by Muriel Leung



Natality by E. G. Means

MOUTHS by Claire Marie Stancek


We will also be publishing finalist Vanessa Villarreal’s manuscript Beast Meridian in the Akrilica series.


Poetry Semifinalists

They Go In Pairs by Samuel Ace

Arcadia, Indiana (a tragedy) by Toby Altman

You Can Take It Out by Cheryl Clark Vermeulen

Red of Split Water-A Burial Rite by Lisa Donovan

Century Worm by Todd Fredson

Actual Echo by Matthew Mahaney

A Turkish Dictionary by Andrew Wessels

Review of Between Grammars at Entropy

Vogel describes her early experiences of reading and writing as “a bridging between [her] voice and [her] body,” as a kind of communion. “Language slowed the world for me,” she recalls, “it gave me a sense of tactility, a skin to encase my thinking.” Vogel’s visceral experience of language is palpable in Between Grammars; there is a sense of tactility ever-present. Beyond the philosophical exploration, reading this book is as much a sensory experience as an intellectual one, the text shot through with light, sound, and touch.


Read the rest at Entropy.

Rain Taxi review of The Ghost In Us Was Multiplying

Armendinger is a master at using fragmented language with precise purpose. His poems experiment with language and form—this collection includes a poem delivered in the form of an instant messenger conversation, and a poem placed as a footnote within another poem—but never read as mere avant-garde posturing. Instead, Armendinger again and again finds new ways to use defamiliarized language to access the unsayable.

It’s a rare and wonderful thing to find a poet who can so powerfully, vividly, and gracefully engage with the problems of language and the world. The Ghost In Us Was Multiplying is a vital book: experimental, substantial, fragmented, unified, unsettled, and unsettling, Armendinger’s work is key reading for all those who care about what our broken words can do.

Read the rest at Rain Taxi.

Cleaver Magazine reviews Change Machine

Change Machine Book CoverJ. G. McClure reviewed Bruce Covey’s Change Machine for Cleaver Magazine:

Think about the change machine outside your car wash: you put in a dollar, the machine spits out coins. Not a neat bundle, but a jangling tray-full. Now think of William Carlos Williams: “A poem is a machine made of words.”Now give William Carlos Williams superpowers and have him beat the hell out of the car wash while musing on Pokémon, Barthes, and metapoetics, and you’ve got a sense of Bruce Covey’s Change Machine.

Read the full review at Cleaver Magazine 

$15 Paperback | Published 2014
ISBN-13 978-1-939819-32-8